Radix working with the University of Massachusetts to generate power more efficiently to the entire campus

Umass amherst dubois library campus center Source: UMass in Picture:


Radix has been working with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) to create an Energy command center that facilitates remote operations monitoring and decision making.

CHP Assistant Plant Manager, Darren Lenois, and Radix Engineer, Priscila Gameiro explain the project include consolidating several data sources, including plant equipment, power meters, field flow instruments, and fuel price information. This set of data feeds optimization and efficiency models, forecast, and key performance indicators to be displayed and accessed easily and in real-time through dashboards. Also, the dashboards allow engineers to view the information remotely and share it with other users outside a control room setting. The project’s goal is to reduce operation costs close to $1million dollars per year by making real-time decisions on major equipment alignment based on current energy market prices.


UMass Central Heating Plant provides steam heat and electrical power to campus by means of a combined cycle plant. The Central Heating Plant has three boilers, capable of firing natural gas and ultra-low number two fuel oil at 125,000 pounds per hour each and one heat recovery steam generator for an additional 100,000 pounds per hour. Total annual steam generated approaches 1.2 billion pounds.


Radix built this energy command center for UMass’s on-campus central heating plant (CHP) using the PI System as the infrastructure for this project. UMass CHP provides up to 70% of the campus power requirements and all the steam for heating. We also developed an advisory system to help the plant engineers and supervisors interpret the best plant configuration for the current prices of natural gas, steam, and electricity, and determine the best time to run the plant with a given fuel at optimum efficiency.  As a result, data is available outside of the control room, multiple dashboards and models currently being developed. Work is ongoing to create and export energy configuration models to PI, also advisory screens will include real-time cost and savings information.


In summary, Radix was instrumental in helping UMass Central Heating Plant generate power more efficiently for the entire campus by providing the plant staff with the ability to monitor power generation and key performance indicators such as plant energy balance and efficiency analysis. Finally, there was a significant decrease in operations costs as well as environmental waste.