Areas of Expertise


University of Miami
Virginia Key, Florida

Additional Details

Project Size 75,000 GSF
Project Cost $47,000,000
Delivery Method Construction Manager
Completion May 2014

UM Marine Technology & Life Sciences CX

This world class research facility is the culmination of a NIST Grant and the University of Miami’s continuing commitment to marine research at the RSMAS campus on Virginia Key. The building integrates seawater labs, traditional wet labs, and a one-of-a-kind SUSTAIN oceanographic research component while establishing an iconic landmark at the gateway to Virginia Key. And the immediate adjacency to the Miami Seaquarium posed many challenges.

Moses Engineering commissioned the seawater system and the SUSTAIN wind tunnel. Watch the wind tunnel in action by clicking this link: New Science of Storm Surge Weather Channel Profile (Video). The $2 million seawater system is literally the “life safety system” for the aplysia, fish and coral tanks. UM rears aplysia as the definitive neurobiological research platform world-wide. Aplysia live in a 52°F seawater environment; not Miami conditions. Moses Engineering designed a one-pass seawater life support system at both 52°F and ambient (corals and fish). The system draws water from the bay, passes thru settling tanks and glass bead filtration and then is transferred to the lab building penthouse for final filtration, cooling, heat recovery and gravity distribution to research tanks via break tanks. All systems are N+1 redundant, including piping. An A line and a B line are needed to alternate as needed to kill seawater growth in the piping. The seawater system is equipped with quality monitoring sensors, including the presence of oil.

The complexity of the seawater system is only exceeded by the wind tunnel. The wind tunnel generates Category 5 hurricane forces over the wind-wave tank. The wind-wave tank is an acrylic 20’W x 6’ D x 60’L tank. The tank is half full of water with the upper three feet utilized to bring Category 5 hurricane forces. The1750 hp vane-axial fan (nine feet in diameter) provides 660,000 cfm at 12 in. w.g. This develops 10,000 fpm at the wind-wave tank. The wind-wave tank can be controlled to temperatures ranging between 54°F and 94°F.

Moses Engineering served as the process systems commissioning agent on this project. Moses Engineering provided overall direction of the commissioning process during the design, construction, and post construction phase. A final report was developed to document the Cx process and results.

Moses Engineering commissioned the following systems:

  • Seawater pumping system
  • Seawater filtration system
  • Seawater heat exchanger system
  • Seawater lab mixing stations
  • Sustain wind tunnel temperature control system
  • Sustain wind tunnel air system
  • Electrical power systems (emergency and normal power)
  • Process control system and graphical user interface

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