Columbia Energy was contracted by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to design and fabricate an enclosure for a pilot-scale hydrotreater system.  The system is a standalone structure within an existing high-bay facility built to transform bio-crude into bio-fuel.

The hydrotreater system interfaces with the facility utilities. Columbia Energy integrated the enclosure fire alarm system with the building’s existing fire alarm system. Columbia Energy designed the hydrogen tanker truck off loading, compressor installation, and distribution lines to provide hydrogen supply to the hydrotreater.

Columbia Energy installed Allen Bradley Micro 830 PLC with loop control and monitoring for ventilation fan control and integration with the Fire Alarm System. Instrumentation included hydrogen control valve and flame detector. Engineering was performed according to multiple codes and standards in addition to PNNL facility standards.  Such standards include NEC, Compressed Gas Association (CGA), International Fuel Gas Code, and ASME B31.3.


  • Allen Bradley Control System
  • 30 ft. length x 22 ft. height x 16 ft. width enclosure with removable end walls
  • 3000 psi supply with 14,000 sf capacity
  • 480V, 400A Power Distribution Panel
  • Multiple subpanels for power distribution


  • Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)
  • U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science
  • Battelle Memorial Institute


  • Enclosure Design
  • NQA-1 Oversight
  • Fabrication
  • Instrumentation and Controls
  • Testing
  • Operator Training

Design Features

  • Standalone enclosure
  • Class 1 electrical fixtures
  • NRTL Electrical Certification on UL508A Panels
  • Fire Alarm System is integrated with entire facility
  • Tie-ins to utilities including hydrogen
  • Flammable gas and hazardous ventilation system
  • 6-room air changes per hour