An industrial power plant at sunset

New Plant Training

Pentagon New Plant Training

The Pentagon, in Alexandria, Virginia (just outside of Washington, D.C.) was built in 1942 during World War II in only 17 months. A state-of-the-art Heating and Refrigeration Plant was built to serve the Pentagon, making it the largest centrally air conditioned office building in the world. With the passage of over 50 years, it became necessary to do major renovation of the Pentagon and its support infrastructure, including the Heating and Refrigeration Plant.

Construction on the new plant started in early 1993 and was completed in 1998. The chiller portion of the new Heating and Refrigeration Plant is equipped with ten 3,750-ton centrifugal chillers manufactured by York that use environmentally-acceptable refrigerant.

The heating side of the new plant is equipped with 6 package boilers manufactured by English Boiler which utilize low NOx burners. Each boiler is rated at 40,000 lb/hr of saturated steam at 125 psig. The plant is equipped with a central control room and a modern Digital Control System (DCS).

In most projects for the construction of heating and refrigeration or power plants, the emphasis is on hardware, construction, and startup. Often, training and documentation for the new plant is not considered. However, the plant personnel must have the training and documentation to effectively operate and maintain the new equipment. The consequences of failure to provide adequate training and documentation can include damage to equipment and injury to people due to mis-operation. Failure to adequately prepare plant personnel may also result in the inability to realize the full potential of new technology such as the DCS system and low NOx burners.

The Department of Defense (DOD) recognized the importance of training and documentation early in the planning for the new Heating and Refrigeration Plant. Accordingly, in the process of developing the specification for the equipment for the new plant, training and documentation were also specified. FCS was initially contracted to fulfill the requirement for documentation and training material.

That requirement includes the following:

The SD provides a concise description of the system presented at the level that plant operations personnel can readily understand. It provides the theory and rationale for the design of the system to allow the trainee to understand the operation of the system in the context of the entire plant. The SDs make extensive use of graphics to enhance the clarity of the documentation.

Learning objectives, lesson plans, and test questions are developed to interrelate the SDs and OPs in an effective training program.

The OP complements the SD by providing a detailed, step-by-step procedure for startup, normal operation, and shutdown of the system. Also included in the OP are alarm responses and listings of the system power supplies, monitored parameters, and a valve lineup check list.

A database was developed to provide an equipment index, organization of nameplate data, and a preventive maintenance schedule based upon manufacturers’ recommendations.

The SDs and OPs were delivered both in hard copy text form and on computer (CD ROM) files. The CD ROM files are installed on a computer network in the plant so that the SDs and OPs are available to plant operators on-line via terminals located throughout the plant. The SDs and OPs were developed with hypertext links to increase the utility of the documentation by allowing the users to quickly access the information desired.

Also included in DOD’s specification for the new plant was training by the various equipment vendors. It became apparent early in the project that each individual vendor would cover only their equipment in the training, and there would be no integrated plant training to “tie together” all of the various pieces of equipment. To meet this need, FCS was asked to conduct supplemental training sessions using the draft SDs, OPs, and training materials. The supplemental training was conducted by FCS personnel in two, 1-week sessions. The FCS training was regarded by the DOD personnel as the best received during the program.