I2SL was delighted to offer conference attendees the opportunity to tour the C. C. Perry “K” Generating Station, the primary source of steam for the Indianapolis district steam system. The plant produces steam and electricity from a variety of fuel sources including coal, oil, and natural gas. The plant's principal function is steam production, with steam distributed through an underground pipe network to industrial, commercial, governmental, and residential customers in the central business district of Indianapolis. Two of the station's primary customers are Eli Lilly and Company and the Indiana University/Purdue University of Indianapolis campus, the sites of this year's Labs21 conference evening tours. The plant is owned and operated by Citizens Thermal, a division of Citizens Energy Group.
The generating station, located less than a quarter mile from the Indiana Convention Center, was originally built in 1893 as an electricity generating station. Through the years, the plant's primary focus shifted to steam production, with some electric production capabilities remaining. Currently, the plant houses eight boilers that are capable of generating nearly 2 million pounds per hour of steam and 24 megawatts of power per year. The piping network involves approximately 24 miles of piping, which distributes steam to approximately 250 individual customers. In terms of steam sales, this district steam system is second only to New York City in the United States.
There have been numerous plant upgrades and improvements through the years to meet current operating standards and environmental rules and regulations. The plant was one of the first in the country to install electrostatic precipitators (1937) and has been the host site for several environmental testing opportunities through the years. Several major upgrades have occurred since 1998, including the conversion of three coal-fired boilers to coke oven gas and/or natural gas boilers; updating feeders on two stoker-fired boilers; installing low-nitrogen oxide burners on the pulverized coal boiler; installing a sludge press for the water treatment building; and installing environmental controls.
Tour attendees got a close-up look at the entire plant, including its two-story boilers, co-generation unit, and the water treatment and building automation systems and control rooms. The tour of the generating station followed shortly after the Labs21 Luncheon on Thursday afternoon. Transportation was provided to and from the facility.