Talkin' bout my (tri)generation

What costs in excess of $20 million to construct and $14 million to maintain over its 15 year life design period? The humble little precast facility photographed below.

Within its walls lies Melbourne Airport's new tri-generation plant, capable of producing eight megawatts or enough power to cover nearly 70% of the airport's requirements. Under the guidance of Gallagher Jeffs, the new facility will run parallel to existing mains power while being able to power the entire Virgin terminal and half of the international terminal in its own right.

Clearly some genuine gains exist in order to expend a vast sum of money on a facility which has a relatively short life span. Aside from grid independence, the tri-generation plant will provide a green energy source which it is estimated will reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 920 000 tonnes over its 15 year cycle.

The new plant will aid Australia Pacific Airports Ltd (Tullamarine's operator) aim of having 15% of operational energy consumption to be generated or purchased through on-site renewables or accredited green power schemes by 2018.

What is tri-generation?

Electrical technologies firm Haron Robson provide an excellent description via their website, part of which states:

Tri-generation is the production of electricity, heat and cooling in the one process. Typically this means a gas fired generator producing electricity and heat with the exhaust heat going to an absorption chiller which produces chilled water and hot water for air conditioning or alternatively the heat is used to heat a swimming pool. The ratio of electricity produced and exhaust heat for the absorption chiller and then the ratio of cooling to heating can be varied to meet the specific site requirements.

Haron Robson: What is Tri-generation?

Principal benefits of the facility driven by four TCG 2020 natural gas-powered engines include savings on energy costs, lower greenhouse emissions and grid independence which is critical given the airport has been susceptible to power outages in the past.

15 years too far?

Designed to power (in part) T2 International, one wonders if the tri-generation plant will provide enough output to cater for demand over its lifecycle? Multiple whispers abound that T2 International is in store for wholesale changes - something far more substantial than a simple refurbishment and extension. Time will tell whether the rumours are proven to be true, but for the time being November will usher in a new model of energy production at Melbourne Airport.


Development & Planning

Wednesday, December 13, 2017 - 12:00
The swirl of development activity in Footscray has found another gear as new projects are submitted for approval, or are on the verge of beginning construction. Two separate planning applications have been advertised by Maribyrnong City Council; their subsequent addition to the Urban Melbourne Project Database has seen the overall number of apartment developments within Footscray in development swell to 40.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Monday, November 20, 2017 - 12:00
The marriage of old and new can be a difficult process, particularly when the existing structure has intrinsic heritage value. In previous times Fitzroy's 237 Napier Street served as the home of furniture manufacturer C.F. Rojo and Sons. Taking root during 1887, Christobel Rojo oversaw operations though over time the site would become home to furniture manufacturer Thonet.

Visual Melbourne

Friday, August 25, 2017 - 07:00
The former site of John Batman's home, Batman's Hill is entering the final stages of its redevelopment. Collins Square's final tower has begun its skyward ascent, as has Lendlease's Melbourne Quarter Commercial and Residential precinct already. Melbourne Quarter's first stage is at construction and involves a new 12-storey home for consultancy firm Arup along with a skypark.


Transport & Design

Friday, December 15, 2017 - 11:00
Infrastructure Victoria unveiled a new round of research into its larger programme of work dealing with managing transport demand. The authority contracted Arup and KPMG to produce the Melbourne Activity Based Model (MABM) and while it is new, it is considered fit for purpose in the strategic context.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, October 24, 2017 - 12:00
Cbus Property's office development for Medibank at 720 Bourke Street in Docklands recently became the first Australian existing property to receive a WELL Certification, Gold Shell and Core rating. The WELL rating goes beyond sustainable building features with a greater focus on the health and well-being of a building's occupants.