“Central utility plants with cogeneration capabilities are a cutting-edge solution to the energy-related issues a large facility faces,” Nystrom explained. “They produce electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source, and they’re designed to meet electrical, heating and cooling loads efficiently on a 24-hour basis.”
He pointed out that this solution often costs less than purchasing electricity from the grid and generating energy separately for heating and cooling. “It’s more energy-efficient because it requires less fuel per usable energy output,” he added, “and it helps reduce the anxiety about grid vulnerabilities, especially at a time when we’re experiencing more instances of extreme weather.”
Over a career spanning more than two decades, Nystrom has worked on projects in hospitals, universities and hotels, as well as major airports and pharmaceutical centers. “It’s important to me to stay involved with a project beyond the design stage and into construction and start-up,” he said. “Not only does it help ensure quality throughout design and installation, it shows your client you’re committed to seeing that the system will perform the way they expect.”
At one New York City hospital, Nystrom served as senior project manager and lead field engineer for the replacement of the entire boiler plant, including boilers, deaerator, condensate return tanks, boiler feed water pumps, blowdown systems, fuel oil systems and associated auxiliaries. He was project manager for a multimillion-dollar underground utility infrastructure upgrade at a major university that involved replacing five miles of high-temperature hot water, chilled water, electrical and communications systems, as well as upgrading the central heating plant. He also served as project manager and lead engineer for design of a 1.7-megawatt cogeneration plant for a prominent hotel chain.
Some of Nystrom’s assignments stand out because of an especially demanding schedule or unusual project features.
“On one assignment I was responsible for an emergency fast-track redesign of the critical high-temperature hot water distribution system at an international airport, as well as field supervision of the contractor’s work,” he said. “All the work had to be completed in eight weeks to meet stringent start-up requirements.”
Another assignment at the airport involved design, specification and commissioning of an eight-cell concrete cooling tower with plume abatement coils.
“A cooling tower transfers waste heat to the atmosphere,” he explained. “The plume that rises above it looks like smoke, though it’s really water vapor that forms as the moist air is being rejected from the stack. Because it can be unsightly or, in this case, a potential obstacle to the control tower line of sight, we try to reduce or eliminate it.” This tower was the first plume-abated tower tested and certified under the Cooling Tower Institute plume abatement standard at the time.