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The University of Alabama at Birmingham

New Steam Plant and Distribution System

Birmingham, AL

The new steam plant was built to replace a coal fired Alabama Power Company facility which supplied all steam to UAB and is being taken out of service. ICT provided mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire protection, and controls engineering for this district steam plant and distribution system.

The plant includes four (4) 99 MMBtu/hr natural gas/fuel oil fired boilers capable of generating 320,000 lb/hr of steam, complete with all water treatment, condensate storage, feedwater, controls and auxiliary systems.  The plant was designed with the infrastructure, future connections, and space to enable increasing the capacity to 480,000 lb/hr in the future.  The plant includes two (2) 600 kW emergency generators capable of operating the entire plant during a power outage from the utility, and two (2) 720 kW spinning uninterruptable power supplies (UPS) to maintain power while the emergency generators are brought on-line.  For a secondary fuel supply, a 210,000-gallon fuel oil unloading, storage, and distribution system was included to serve the boilers and supply fuel to the emergency generators.

The distribution system includes approximately 10,000 linear feet of steam supply and condensate return piping and serves approximately twenty-five (25) buildings.  The distribution system is routed through an urban environment beneath public streets and through UAB buildings.

This project was designed utilizing Building Information Modeling (BIM) three-dimensional (3D) software.  The 3D model was subjected to clash detection to resolve conflicts prior to releasing construction documents.  The model was utilized for demonstration purposes to allow the Owner to "Tour" the facility during the design of the project. 

Project Highlights:

  • Gas or Oil-Fired Boilers with 400,000 lbs/hr capacity
  • Boiler Plant Auxiliaries
  • Onsite Fuel Oil Storage
  • Two 600 kW Emergency Generators
  • Two 720 kW Flywheel UPS’s
  • Steam Distribution System 


20,000 SF


The University of Alabama at Birmingham


KPS Group, Inc.





Power / Education