Veolia North America, the company that operates a network of steam and chilled water pipes in downtown Baltimore, said it opened a new $11.8 million plant on Monday to produce chilled water.
The new chilled water facility, located in the Baltimore Convention Center, is a collaboration between the company, the city, the convention center and the Maryland Stadium Authority.
The steam and chilled water provided by Veolia is used to heat and cool commercial buildings, hospitals and government facilities throughout downtown.
The new facility, which will supply the convention center and about 50 other buildings, features a more sustainable design that will result in reduced carbon emissions, the elimination of an ozone-depleting refrigerant and cost savings.
By eliminating 6,137 tons of carbon emissions each year — the equivalent of 1,177 cars from the road annually, the new plant contributes to the city's goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020, Veolia said.
"A cornerstone to the success of this project was the close collaboration of public and private partners — a relationship that has spanned over a decade," said William J. DiCroce, Veolia's president and CEO, in a statement. "This project illustrates how great things can happen when people come together under a common vision — conserve energy, create jobs, reduce carbon pollution and improve the community's green energy infrastructure."
In June, an aging steam pipe under Eutaw Street — part of the network managed for the city by Veolia — exploded as fans streamed into Camden Yards for an Orioles game, injuring five people. After an investigation, Veolia cited "abnormal wall thinning" in the cast-iron steam pipe as the cause of the explosion. That section of pipe has been replaced with ductile carbon steel piping.