Hundreds of fish, anemones, kelp plants, puffins and a giant Pacific octopus all like their water cold – within a few degrees of 37 Fahrenheit – and they thrive best when the temperature doesn't fluctuate.
The National Aquarium conserves and protects these aquatic animals through educational programs and beautifully-restored habitats. In these habitats, they regulate air and water temperature using 1,250 tons of chilled water pumped in by Veolia at a precise 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Reliability is critical, because these aquatic animals and plants rely on the regulated air and water to stay alive.
Veolia solves this problem with an age-old technology: Ice storage.
A circuit of underground pipes, nearly ten miles long, connects the Aquarium with Veolia’s nondescript ice storage tanks in downtown Baltimore. They don’t look like much from the outside, but running through the inside of these tanks are tubes filled with chilled glycol, a fluid which freezes at low temperatures. Ice forms around the tubes, cooling the water inside the tanks.
By cooling the water using off-peak electricity, Veolia reduces demand on the grid and creates a reliable supply of chilled water that protects customers like the National Aquarium against any potential supply constraints or price spikes. Veolia delivers nearly 40 million ton-hours of this low-temperature, chilled water to Baltimore each year, reducing costs by eliminating the upfront capital and maintenance costs incurred using onsite chillers.
Veolia’s unassuming ice storage tanks are hidden beneath Baltimore’s skyline, yet they help preserve the National Aquarium’s important aquatic species. Sometimes the things we don’t see play a role in our environmental health – and save money, too.