Tri-generation plant reduces hospital’s greenhouse gas emissions

The new $1 billion Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne will be supported by a tri-generation power plant featuring a lean-burn gas generator set.

The Cummins power generation plant is one of the green features at the hospital that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45 per cent.

The world-class hospital opened in late 2011 and is powered by a tri-generation plant and standby power system, featuring diesel unit generator sets.

“The tri-generation plant will provide baseload power around the clock, reducing the hospital’s dependency on the grid and thus reducing electricity costs,” Cummins Power Generation business development manager David Eccleston said.

The tri-generation system, which simultaneously produces electricity, heating and cooling, features two 1160kWe Cummins C1160N5C (QSK60) lean-burn gas generator sets. Each genset will operate for around 6000 hours a year during peak demand.

“The tri-generation system alone will reduce the hospital’s CO2 emissions by around 20 per cent,” he said.

Heat recovered from the gas engines’ exhaust is converted via a broad absorption chiller to chilled water for air-conditioning and other uses at the new hospital. In addition, Cummins has installed the standby power system at the hospital, incorporating three 2250kVA Cummins C2250D5 (QSK60) diesel generator sets. The diesel units can synchronise with the gas gensets and load share in the event of a blackout. Cummins assisted with the design of the two digital master controllers, one each for the gas and diesel gensets.

“Cummins’ ability to fully integrate gas and diesel genset technology was one of the key differentiators between Cummins and the competition,” Melbourne team senior project manager Adam Ferrara said.

Cummins worked closely with principal electrical services contractor PSG Elecraft and mechanical services contractor RACAH – a joint venture between AG Coombs and AE Smith – on the installation and integration of the gas gensets with the diesel units.

The new hospital, being built by Bovis Lend Lease in Parkville, will treat an extra 35,000 patients a year, with 85 per cent of the 357 beds being in single rooms – the highest percentage of any public hospital in Australia.