Fermilab, the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., is preparing to undergo a phased 10-year modernization of the particle physics and accelerator research lab’s utilities infrastructure. Fermilab estimates the total utilities infrastructure project would cost between $252 million and $407 million.
Fermi Research Alliance, which manages Fermilab, recently awarded an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract to Arup for project architecture and engineering services . A Fermilab spokesperson says the plans include a major renovation of its Central Utility Building, plus the expansion and refurbishment of a power substation. The plans are intended to improve the resiliency, redundancy and efficiency of the lab’s utilities while reducing its energy use.
Fermilab is the premier U.S. national lab for particle physics research, but its leaders say its infrastructure is in need of upgrades to support scientific work like its Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE). That experiment is planned with goals of better understanding how the universe works by sending an intense high-energy proton beam underground 800 miles from Fermilab to another research facility in South Dakota to produce neutrinos for study.
Plans for the Central Utility Building include upgrading its chilled water capacity, says Josh Yacknowitz, principal at Arup. That will support the PIP-II particle accelerator and the Long Baseline Neutrino Facility Near Site, which will house equipment for DUNE. Additionally, Arup will study ways to upgrade the utility building in line with President Joe Biden’s 2021 executive order directing federal facilities to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
“As Fermilab’s existing campus is over 50 years old, much of its infrastructure is aging,” Yacknowitz says. “Through our role on UIP, we are ensuring that services to existing facilities are not disrupted and that impact to ongoing science experiments is minimized through careful coordination with labs.”
Arup is also providing artificial intelligence and machine learning services to modernize the existing and upgraded utility controls for the Central Utility Building, Yacknowitz says. The firm has previously used its AI/ML approach in other countries, but it is a new service among its U.S. offerings.
The 345-kV substation that Fermilab wants to expand is one of two substations at the 6,800-acre campus. Yacknowitz says this would impact “a large portion” of the facility. Arup is set to perform a study and follow-on design for the substation expansion.
Arup is also working on campus-wide utility upgrades. As part of that, the firm is providing watershed management, stormwater management and flood and riverine modeling, according to Yacknowitz.
“As wetlands make up part of Fermilab’s campus, and in line with their stewardship approach to facility management, Arup is providing services to ensure water is treated properly to protect the local environment and wildlife,” Yacknowitz says.
The utility upgrades are aimed at supporting other improvements to Fermilab that have been made in recent years or are still in the works. As ENR previously reported, Arup also contributed to the design team behind Fermilab’s Integrated Engineering Research Center.
Last November, Fermilab announced that it would receive $260 million from the Inflation Reduction Act via the Dept. of Energy’s Office of Science. The money is set to go toward the lab’s construction projects. Lia Merminga, Fermilab’s director, said at the time that the lab expects to invest more than $500 million in construction over five years.