MIlwaukee Regional Medical Center ~ Thermal Power Plant

Milwaukee, WI

The MRMC Thermal Energy Plant, formally known as Milwaukee County Power Plant, produces steam and chilled water for hospitals and other buildings on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center (MRMC) campus. Centrally located in the city of Wauwatosa, MRMC consists of five major healthcare institutions serving the area, including a Level 1 trauma center, biomedical research facilities, active teaching medical college, and a nationally recognized children’s hospital. Boldt has served as a construction services provider to hospitals on this campus on numerous occasions. With our extensive experience in both healthcare and complex power projects, and our familiarity with the campus and facilities management staff, Boldt was selected by the MRMC Thermal, Inc. to assist in the planning and construction of the upgrades to the entire district energy system. 

Part of the scope of the entire project included construction of a transitional plant to house four 70,000 lbs/hr steam-generating gas boilers to allow the existing coal boilers to be taken out of service and conversion to natural gas to begin. The transitional plant included a 700-foot pipe bridge transporting steam to the main plant’s distribution tie-in points and treated water back to the transitional plant. 

Once the transitional plant was operational, crews demolished the coal boilers, including coal/ash handling equipment, electrostatic precipitators and stacks. Renovations were completed to the power plant, including the removal and replacement of four boilers, addition of five chillers, and the replacement of five chilled water pumps along with their turbine-driven prime movers. The new chilled water pumps featured electric motors and variable frequency drives (VFD’s). A new four cell cooling tower was erected to handle the condenser water off the new chillers. Since 600 psi steam will no longer be produced for process loads the three steam driven turbines were removed and the turbine hall demolished. New office space, locker facilities and control rooms were added. 

The distribution system was expanded to create additional capacity and loop the system for better performance and an additional 5,100 feet of chilled water piping and 3,100 feet of steam piping installed. The majority of the chilled water is 42” diameter HDPE piping, bored to minimize disrupting surface activities through lane closures and emergency vehicle access to the hospitals. 

The transitional plant was then be upgraded to handle two permanent boilers, enclose the boilers and add water treatment facilities for self-sufficient operation.       

Learn more about our work in the About Boldt market.

Architect/Engineer

Burns & McDonnell

Boldt Role

General Contractor / Construction Manager

Key Points

  • Thermal energy plant supplies steam and chilled water for five major healthcare institutions, including a Level 1 trauma center.
  • Decommissioning the existing coal-fired boilers required the construction of a transitional plant consisting of four 70,000 / hr steam generating gas boilers.
  • After the coal-fired boilers were taken offline and removed, the power plant was renovated and new natural gas-fired boilers were installed, along with five new chillers and a four cell cooling tower.