Gold Hard Hat Award

NIST Hydrogen Test Facility
Submitted by The RMH Group

In support of federal efforts to create a "hydrogen economy," the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a new Hydrogen Test Facility in Boulder. The facility will be used to evaluate tests, materials, mechanical properties and standards for hydrogen pipelines.

Photo: Eric Bartczak Architects, Eric Bartczak
Engineering Design: Gold Hard Hat Award
Engineering Design: Silver Hard Hat Award

The design includes a test facility that used portions of an existing building for a lab control room that is adjacent to a blast wall and contains equipment for testing material exposure to hydrogen gas. Here, there are two test chambers that contain hydrogen under high pressure. The largest of these is the nation's biggest hydrogen test chamber. There is also a control room located remotely in another building, intended for the monitoring and control of the most volatile experiments being performed in the test facility.

The facility serves as a center for research in the development of the hydrogen fuel infrastructure and the development of alternative fuels. NIST intends to use the laboratory to develop long-term materials service tests and apply them to study pipeline materials and mechanical effects.

Project Team:

NIST Hydrogen Test Facility
Owner: Lonco
General Contractor: JCOR Mechanical
Architect: Eric Bartczak Architects
Engineers: The RMH Group, Fitzpatrick Engineering
Start: March 2008
Finish: Sept. 2008

Silver Hard Hat AwardAscent Solar Production Process
Submitted by Trinity Mechanical Inc.

This project consisted of a 120,000-sq-ft building renovation that involved production facility construction for Ascent Solar, a photovoltaic solar development company. The renovation portion of the project transformed a building constructed in the mid-20th Century into a state-of-the-art headquarters for the company.

The production facility consists of more than two miles of process piping systems, which were install in a three-month period; and a central plant consisting of three 500-ton chillers, three 500-ton evaporative cooling towers, 16 centrifugal pumps, five plate and frame heat exchangers and numerous storage tanks to serve the five process cooling loops. Each loop is capable of varying the supply temperature and pressure to each process. The compressed air plant includes three 600 SCFM water cooled rotary screw compressors and other accessories such as receiver tanks, refrigerate dryers and filters serving two separate compressed air systems.

The construction of its new headquarters has created over 200 jobs in engineering and manufacturing in Colorado, contributing to Gov. Ritter’s new-energy economy.

Project Team:

Ascent Solar Production Process
$7.5 million
Owner: Ascent Solar
General Contractor: Roupp Construction
Architect: InterGroup
Engineer: Trinity Mechanical
Start: Oct. 2008
Finish: June 2009