Grifols Therapeutics LLC
Grifols is a global health care company, headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, with a mission to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world. The company produces essential plasma-derived medicines for patients, along with important tools, information and services for health care providers. The company’s state-of-the-art facility in Clayton, N.C., is one of only a handful of facilities worldwide manufacturing life-saving plasma products. Its refrigeration and clean rooms have high levels of criticality, making reliable, resilient backup power essential to the company’s success. Duke Energy used insights formed over 18 years of working together to create a customized, flexible and cost-effective backup power solution and electrical distribution system that operates seamlessly with the company’s sophisticated manufacturing processes.
The facility in Clayton, N.C., sits on 467 acres and operates 24/7, employing approximately 1,650 workers. The complex operations are spread over 30 buildings served from a distribution system and stepdown transformers to each building from the primary and alternate transformer banks, with critical systems that include refrigeration, HVAC, solvent recovery, compressed gases, waste treatment and more. The plasma must be stored at minus 20 degrees Celsius, and each batch must meet exact sterile room specifications. Any process stops or deviations in temperature or pressure may result in significant losses. Backup power is essential for maintaining these sensitive operations. However, placing a backup generator at each delivery point would have required as many as 15 different generators spread across the property, creating extra expense, maintenance hassles and coordination challenges.
Instead, Duke Energy designed flexible, centralized backup power that supports Grifols’ sophisticated operations at a lower cost than multiple, dispersed generators. This central generation farm works in tandem with Grifols’ load shedding system to assure continuity of critical loads that are connected to the alternate transformer. When there is an outage on the alternate feed, the generators will start and Grifols will begin to transfer their critical loads. This sequence only takes a few minutes to complete. The farm is also scalable to meet Grifols’ present and future needs. This cost-effective solution also saves the company time and effort. Duke Energy handled the design, permitting, construction and commissioning of the generation farm and continues to manage the ongoing testing, fueling, maintenance and repairs.
“By working with Duke Energy, we were able to create the levels of resiliency and redundancy we need, without diverting time and resources from our core business.” – Chuck Blatchley, Director, Facilities, Grifols Therapeutics
Duke Energy’s backup power solution provided Grifols with high levels of reliability and redundancy, combined with the flexibility to adjust to changing critical loads. Grifols chose to work with Duke Energy due to the unique advantages the utility offers. First, Duke Energy developed a multitiered approach to decrease the company’s exposure to potential adverse events by adding a second 115-kV to 24-kV transformer bank served from a separate transmission line. This allowed the “primary” 24-kV feeder to the facility to run from one transformer bank and the alternate 24-kV feeder from the other. Next, Duke Energy designed and integrated the centralized generator farm into the electrical distribution system that supplies the alternate line. This design, combined with Grifols’ SCADA system, can identify and transfer critical loads to the alternate feed/generator farm, cut costs and complexity while enabling the generators to respond to the varying critical load levels coming from different operational systems at different times. And, finally, the utility took on responsibility for ownership and maintenance, including testing. The total installed capacity for the generation farm is 9,250 kW, with space for two additional generators if needed in the future. Grifols monitors load and load shed availability in real time. Critical information from the generator fleet is fed into this load control system to assure continuity. In the event of a complete power loss, Grifols will transfer increments of the critical load to the generator farm up to the capacity of the available generators.
With this stable, secure backup power solution, Grifols has the reliability and resiliency it needs to protect both its plasma-derived products and its business. The generator farm switchgear includes an I/O module that ties into Grifols’ load shed system indicating how much of the generator capacity is available at any given time. For additional peace of mind, Duke Energy continues to test the generators weekly. With all of this protection safely in place, Grifols can focus on its core business.
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