Regional university to self-generate electricity and heat

Clarke Energy has been awarded the contract to design and construct a turnkey cogeneration plant at Charles Sturt University (CSU) in Bathurst, New South Wales.

As part of CSU’s suite of sustainability commitments, the University plan to achieve a 25 per cent reduction in normalised energy consumption and be carbon neutral by 2015.

Consulting engineer Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM) was awarded the contract to supply and install the high efficiency cogeneration plant, which will reduce the energy imported from the grid while offsetting heat loads from existing dedicated boilers.

The plant will be driven by one of GE Power and Water’s Jenbacher J312 containerised gas engine producing up to 637kWe of electrical output and achieving a total efficiency of close to 80 per cent. In addition, 705kWt of recovered thermal energy will be delivered to the existing campus hot water network as hot water at 95°C. This will supplement of CSU’s existing gas fired boilers and reduce the overall energy consumption for the campus.

GE’s Jenbacher gas engine will be packaged in a pre-engineered ‘plug-and-play’ containerised cogeneration module, which includes all of the required ancillary components. This factory tested and pre-commissioned package is a cost effective solution that minimises the time required for onsite assembly and commissioning.

Power will be generated at 415V then stepped up to 11kV via a new transformer kiosk. This will be connected to the existing campus 11kV ring main network. Gas engine heat will be recovered via a series of engine-mounted heat exchangers. An exhaust gas heat exchanger will capture additional heat from the exhaust gas.

The cogeneration plant will be installed within an existing boiler house that previously housed two coal-fired boilers. Clarke Energy will integrate the new plant with existing services including fuel gas supply and hot water reticulation.

CSU green manager Ed Maher said the cogeneration solution represents an exciting step in a multi-faceted strategy for achieving carbon neutrality by 2015.

“The cogen facility is forecast to achieve a 7 per cent reduction to the University’s carbon footprint while also offering operational cost savings by offering a cheaper source of electricity and hot water to conventional grid and central boiler-sourced supplies,” he said.

Clarke Energy managing director Greg Columbus said Charles Sturt University’s efforts to increase the efficiency of their energy consumption is innovative and green.

“Clarke Energy look forward to supporting CSU with a balanced maintenance plan that delivers the plant reliability and availability required over the long term of the asset life,” Mr Columbus said.