New South Glasgow Hospital On 15 second stand by

Boasting 1109 patient beds over 14 storeys, the New South Glasgow Hospital will be one of the largest acute hospitals in Europe when it opens in 2015 and will offer specialist care for renal medicine, transplantation and vascular surgery along with state-of-the-art critical care, theatre and diagnostic facilities. Constructed at a cost of £842 million, the hospital represents the largest ever investment in a hospital build project in Scotland and no element of the specification has been overlooked when it comes to delivering an exemplar contemporary hospital.

The standby power provision is no exception. As befits Scotland’s biggest ever hospital, the standby generator installation is also the largest in Scotland, with ten 11,000 volt generator sets being installed to provide a combined power capacity of 2.5MVa, sufficient to provide enough electricity to power 2,500 average homes. This standby power capacity will be housed in the hospital’s purpose-built energy centre and linked to both an EnMS and the hospital’s BMS to ensure that standby power is readily available and appropriately prioritised within just 15 seconds in the event of an outage.

Comments Paul Moore, managing director of standby power specialist, Dieselec Thistle, the company supplying New South Glasgow’s standby power: “In  a hospital environment an efficient standby power infrastructure is not just business critical, it could mean the difference between life and death. In an installation of this size, it’s essential that the generators are fully synchronised with control and management systems to ensure that power is available where there is most acute need in the event of an outage.”


Phased Installation

Dieselec Thistle supplied the first five FG Wilson generator sets to site in January, including control systems, sound attenuation enclosures, and exhaust gas silencers for each of the generators’ 400mm diameter flues. The first phase generation installation programme is currently being carried out by M&E contractor, Mercury, and will be complete by early June 2012, with the remaining five due for installation in 2013.

Explains Ed McIntyre from Mercury: “It will be some time before the hospital needs the full standby capacity but some standby power provision is needed for the laboratory and morgue which open as part of the hospital complex in March 2012.  As a result, the remainder of the generator sets are being installed in line with the build programme.”

The 4,000m2 energy centre for the hospital is a three storey building split into two sections, with the generators allocated the first floor level. The first five generators are being installed in section A and the remainder will be installed in section B but all 10 will ultimately work together to provide the standby power requirements of the hospital.

Explains Paul Moore: “Design of the control systems is critical to the success of the installation as smooth switch over to standby power, synchronisation of the generators and allocation of the standby power to the most critical hospital services will all rely on programmable logic controls. In the event of a mains power outage, the available generators must be operational at full load within just 12 seconds, with a further three seconds allocated for synchronisation to ensure that critical power is restored within 15 seconds.”


Optimum Efficiency

The standby power system at New South Glasgow Hospital has been designed to provide extra capacity because the critical power demands of such a high specification hospital. Ideally, a minimum of six out of the ten generators will be available at full load within the 12 second window but Dieselec Thistle has designed the control system to ensure that the standby power operates at optimum efficiency for the level of power available.

Paul continues: “While the ideal scenario is for six or more generators to be operational within 15 seconds if fewer come on line within that initial period the control system will synchronise what’s available and prioritise with the level of power that’s on stream. So for example, if there are only four generators available at full load within 12 seconds, the control will synchronise them and ensure that the available power is allocated to services such as the intensive care unit and operating theatres. After that there is a pecking order built into the system to ensure that the medical equipment and lighting are restored first with non-medical services such as the hospital’s boilers and air handling units coming on line last.”

Installation of the standby power system involves integration with the hospital’s BMS which will alert the EnMS if the mains power fails. The EnMS will then synchronise all the available generators and assign power to the most critical services while the BMS will switch off non-essential equipment.

Tried & Tested

Dieselec Thistle has already carried out full witnessed factory tests at FG Wilson’s production plant in Larne, Northern Ireland, and will carry out further tests during the commissioning stage of each phase of the installation project to ensure that the generators deliver the required load and that synchronisation and load shedding is fully optimised. In the meantime, Mercury is carrying out the mechanical and electrical installation of the first five generators along with eight boilers and a CHP.

Ed McIntyre comments: “A major element of the preparation for the standby power is provision of the massive fuel storage tanks located on the ground floor of the energy centre.  The tanks will hold around one million litres of diesel at any one time and we will be installing pipework to link them not only to the ten generators but also to the boilers and CHP.”

The size of the fuel tanks, along with the 34m tall flue mast provide clear indicators of just how great the energy consumption and standby power provision will be once New South Glasgow Hospital is fully operational.  It will be Dieselec Thistle’s job to ensure that the standby power equipment is in excellent working order as part of an on-going post-installation maintenance programme and HTM (Health Technical Memorandum) guidelines dictate that each gen set will have to be run for one hour per week to test that it remains fit for purpose.

Paul Moore adds: “New South Glasgow Hospital will be a world class example of 21st century healthcare and the standby power facility being built in to the hospital campus will match that size and quality.”