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Net zero: MCLB Albany receives first Borehole Thermal Energy Storage system in America

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany | October 20, 2015

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The implementation of America’s first Borehole Thermal Energy Storage system — a state-of-the-art ground source heat pump system — is the latest milestone reached by Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany officials in a quest to become net zero by 2017.

Leaders from MCLB Albany’s Installation and Environment Division; Andrews, Hammock and Powell Inc., Macon, Georgia; Engineers Naval Facility Engineering and Artesian Contracting Company, Inc., officially marked the start of BTES system with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Marine Corps Logistics Command’s headquarters in Building 3700, here, Oct. 19.

According to base and BTES designer officials, it’s the first of its kind in the U.S.

Col. James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, MCLB Albany, said the installation is committed to being a great steward of the environment and the BTES project helps demonstrate the commitment.

“MCLB Albany is the benchmark and is setting the bar high, not only across the Department of Defense but for the rest of the industry,” Carroll said. “We are hoping (people) will come in and take a look at this great technology and be able to export it out and really create a buzz throughout the nation as to what we are doing here.”

During a recent visit to the installation, Lt. Gen. Michael G. Dana, deputy commandant, Marine Corps Installations and Logistics, said he was going to challenge all the installation commanders to think about where they want their installations to be in 20-25 years, Carroll noted.

“No doubt this particular project positions Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany well into the future, 20-25 years from now,” Carroll said.

Chuck W. Hammock Jr., principal engineer, Andrews, Hammock & Powell, Inc., said he was proud the BTES system was being implemented at the base.

“We are able to demonstrate a technology at a scale we hope will get the Department of Defense’s attention,” Hammock said. “This project is really about energy security. We want to get America’s energy right here on our shores.”

Mike Henderson, chief engineer, Public Works, Installation and Environment Division, said the BTES system will help the base achieve its net zero goal.

Net zero is when the installation generates the same amount of energy it uses, he said.

“MCLB Albany continues to seek new opportunities to reduce its energy consumption through alternative sources and is on the leading edge of energy efficiency,” Henderson added. “We are leading the way in the Department of Defense’s Energy Conservation Program.

“The Department of Defense’s goal, overall, is to become net zero by 2020,” he continued. “MCLB Albany’s aggressive goal is to be at net zero by 2017 and the BTES system will help us meet that objective.”

Henderson said the BTES project was a joint venture by the Department of Energy and Department of Defense.

“The project costs $5 million and is the first of its kind in the U.S.,” Henderson pointed out. “The BTES design was funded by the Department of Defense Energy Conservation Investment Program while the design cost was funded by Department of Energy.”

BTES will provide a less expensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning bill and it is more reliable than the previous boilers and chillers used to heat and cool Building 3700, he added.

The installation is already seeing results in energy and monetary savings from BTES, according to Henderson.

“In July, the BTES was tested at its full capacity,” he said. “For the month of August, we were able to save nearly $50,000.”

Construction for the BTES began in 2013 with the clearing of a two-acre area behind Building 3700.

Henderson said the BTES system is composed of 306 boreholes or wells drilled down 210 feet into the ground. The system uses a high-density polyethylene tube to circulate water for energy transfer.

The boreholes are laid out in circles and zones to store the needed hot or cold water.

These boreholes transfer hot or cold water into the ground to store for out-of-season use in heating or cooling the building, according to Henderson.

During the summer, warm water is stored on the outskirt of the system’s concentric circle and cold water is pulled through the air conditioning from the center of its circle to cool the building. In the winter, cold water is stored and warmer water is pulled through the heater to heat the building.

For more information about the BTES system, call Henderson at 229-639-8406.


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