Massive generator to help power new hospitals

A massive new generator that will provide uninterrupted electrical power to facilities on the south side of the University of Florida Health medical complex arrived in late August.

The generator’s capacity assures that all UF Health facilities on the south side of Southwest Archer Road will have a continuous power supply.

“Along with an existing unit, this new generator will keep the entire south campus at full power regardless of any power outages in the surrounding community,” said Brad Pollitt, vice president of facilities for UF Health.

The 10,000-horsepower generator can produce up to eight megawatts of electricity. When paired with the current 4 1/2-megawatt generator, the South Energy Center will be capable of providing all of the electric power, hot water and steam required at the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital and the UF Health Shands Critical Care Center as well as the UF Health Heart & Vascular Hospital and the UF Health Neuromedicine Hospital that are under construction.

The 270,000 pound generator is wheeled onto UF Health's south campus.

The 270,000 pound generator is wheeled onto UF Health’s south campus.

The generators at the South Energy Center essentially function as a self-contained power plant, which gives it a significant advantage over traditional “standby” generators. Because the Energy Center operates continuously, there is no lag in electrical service if the rest of the electrical grid has an outage.

The new generator’s size — 38 feet long, 11 feet wide and 14 feet high — required a specially designed, 12-axle truck with 96 tires to haul the 270,000-pound unit from a rail stop in north Gainesville.

The new equipment makes GRU’s facility one of the most modern and energy efficient in the country.

“This generator will provide enough electric, steam and hot water to ensure that even during a major storm, the southern part of the UF Health campus will have all of the energy it needs to provide uninterrupted quality health care to our community,” said Chuck Heidt, project manager for the South Energy Center.

In addition to providing a reliable source of power, UF’s Pollitt said the South Energy Center runs on natural gas, which is environmentally friendlier than electricity produced by a coal-fired power plant. The facility also offers increased energy efficiency compared with conventional generation plants and produces substantial energy savings for UF Health by capturing “waste” heat from the generators and using it to produce hot water and help power air conditioning, Pollitt said.

Watch the video below to see the generator’s trip through Gainesville. 

The new generator’s size — 38 feet long, 11 feet wide and 14 feet high — required a specially designed, 12-axle truck with 96 tires to haul the unit.

The new generator’s size — 38 feet long, 11 feet wide and 14 feet high — required a specially designed, 12-axle truck with 96 tires to haul the unit.

The generator makes its way through Gainesville.

The generator makes its way through Gainesville.