Technical Tours

Technical Tours


Technical Tours will visit local district energy facilities on Thursday, September 30. All Technical Tours include a Breakfast & Technical Tour Orientation at the Austin Convention Center (7:30-9:00am) where you can enjoy breakfast while tour hosts share brief overview presentations of the systems you will visit on the tour. Tours will depart at 9:15 am and tours A and B will  drop participants at the airport at approximately 1:30 pm.

Tours A, B, & C will each visit all three facilities - The University of Texas at Austin, Austin Energy's District Cooling Plant #3, and Austin Community Collee. Tours A & B will go to the airport at the conclusion of the tours. If you plan to go to the airport, you will need to check out before coming to breakfast and bring your luggage with you. You will be responsible for loading your luggage on and off the bus. We hope to be at the airport around 1:30 pm. Advanced registration and fee is required to attend all tours. Long pants and closed toe shoes are required.

The University of Texas at Austin

The Carl J. Eckhardt Combined Heating and Power Complex is often described as the largest and most integrated microgrid in the U.S. The University of Texas at Austin campus features a Combined Heat and Power plant (CHP) with a 134 MW power capacity and 1.2 million lb/hr steam generation capacity. Peak load levels have reached 64 MW for power and 320,000 lb/hr for steam. The single largest electrical load on campus is the cooling system that provides 63,000 tons of air conditioning to the campus, which has reached a demand of 33,000 tons demand during peak hours.

The Carl J. Eckhardt Combined Heating and Power Complex provides 100% of the electricity, cooling and heating for the university’s main campus. This includes 5 chilling stations and a 4.3 million gallon & a 5.5-million-gallon chilled water thermal storage tanks that provides the cooling requirements for 19.6 million square feet. Connections to the City of Austin electrical grid exist only for emergency backup, providing the university independence in generating all utilities required for a campus the size of a small city.

Austin Energy

Austin Energy’s District Cooling Plant #3 is critical in providing the additional capacity needed to ensure reliable and uninterrupted service to chilled water customers in Downtown Austin. The plant has 10,000 tons of additional chilled water capacity including four 2,500 ton chillers and nine 1,250 ton cooling tower cells.

Austin Community College (ACC) Highland Chiller Plant is Austin Energy’s flagship satellite plant – bringing best practices from the Downtown, Domain, and Mueller plants to this facility. At full buildout, the plant will be capable of providing 6,000 tons of cooling capacity and 4.5 MW of load shifting through thermal energy storage. The plant will use well water treated by a reverse osmosis system for cooling tower makeup to reduce the usage of City potable water. The plant is dedicated solely to the College for campus redevelopment.