The Assure/Expand Chilled Water Project will increase the chilled water capacity and reliability at the Bethesda Campus. The thermal energy storage system will consist of a partially buried eight million-gallon storage tank that will provide 45,000-ton hours of chilled water at a discharge rate of 5,000 tons per hour. The system will also include a pumping station.
Thermal energy storage consists of storing chilled water in a storage tank during off-peak hours. During peak hours, when chilled water demand is highest, the storage tank will supplement the existing chillers’ capacity.
NIH's Bethesda Campus operates one of the largest chiller plants on the East Coast. From the plant, chilled water is circulated via the chilled water distribution network. The buildings then use the chilled water for climate control (both temperature and humidity) and for the cooling of equipment, equipment discharges, etc. The chilled water system is critical to the NIH mission and is absolutely essential for NIH’s three data centers, over 1.3 million research animals, 240-bed hospital, and over 12 million square feet of sophisticated biomedical research facilities.