Select brand

Select brand:

A brand of Bouygues Energies & Services
Kummler+Matter EVT
A brand of Bouygues Energies & Services
Helion

An exceptional project is concluded!

EPFL inaugurates its new thermal power plant

08.09.2022Bouygues Energies & Services

The inauguration of EFPL’s thermal power plant took place today in the presence of Martin Vetterli, EPFL president and Vassilis Venizelos, State Councillor for the Canton of Vaud. Bouygues Energies & Services is extremely proud to have successfully completed this comprehensive modernisation of EPFL’s thermal infrastructure.

 

 

The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) chose Bouygues Energies & Services to plan and execute a complete renewal of its heating and cooling infrastructure. This ambitious project came about as the facilities were reaching the end of their useful life and no new buildings can now be erected on campus. EPFL’s goal was to move away from fossil fuels and ultimately adopt 100% renewable energies.

 

 

Work began in 2019. The thermal power plant, nerve centre of the system, has been cleaned up and expanded to house the new installations: four new generation heat pumps with a capacity of 24 MW as well as two emergency gas boilers (18 MW). The building has been elevated, to accommodate a data centre. This centre’s roof and façades are covered by photovoltaic panels. A new pumping station has been built on the shores of Lake Geneva next to the old one, thus doubling the pumping capacity of the facilities serving both EPFL and the University of Lausanne (UNIL). A second, kilometre-long pipe was built to pump water from the lake at a depth of more than 75 m.

My role was to inspire our clients, reps and specialists to share in a common vision, so that our energy objectives could ultimately be achieved. I’m proud that we managed to bring all these people together and deliver the results we set out to.

Damien Roulet, Regional Director of Bouygues E&S InTec Suisse SA and project lead for the modernisation of EPFL’s thermal infrastructures

In addition to this large-scale work, the distribution networks were likewise transformed. The network of hydraulic pipes carrying water from the lake has been expanded to handle the new set-up, while the heat distribution network and its 26 associated substations have been upgraded. A network of gas supply pipes for the new boilers has also been put in place. These works took up a total of 3.5 hectares on shore and 2 hectares on the lake. In the current operational phase, the project is focusing on better usage of the energy mix and on how the new installations perform.

 

 

No operation of this complexity comes without major challenges. Work took place as everyday university life carried on alongside, which meant that the heating and cooling systems could never be switched off. A key concern was to ensure the safety of everyone at the location and on the construction sites. 15,000 people are on campus every day – making it the equivalent of a small town – and the campus is traversed by several cantonal and communal roads, M2 lines and buses. All these considerations had to be integrated into operational planning throughout the project.

 

 

Bouygues Energies & Services and its various teams were highly invested, involving other companies such as Kummler+Matter EVT and Helion in the work. Project chief Damien Roulet commented: ‘My role was to inspire our clients, reps and specialists to share in a common vision, so that our energy objectives could ultimately be achieved. I’m proud that we managed to bring all these people together and deliver the results we set out to.’ This project of modernising EPFL’s thermal infrastructure will stay with everyone involved as a valuable experience and a great human adventure.