Tri time at AgriBio

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Power Generation

Victoria’s new Centre for AgriBioscience, AgriBio, is one of Australia’s premier bioscience facilities.The $288 million facility, at La Trobe University in Melbourne, is primarily designed to help support and protect Victoria’s $11.8 billion agricultural sector.

With up to 400 staff including scientists, students and business support, AgriBio will also have a major impact on the quality of scientific research benefitting not only Victoria but also Australia.

One of the features of the new facility is the tri-generation power plant that utilises a Cummins lean-burn gas generator set to reduce carbon emissions and improve energy efficiency.

The tri-generation system, which simultaneously produces electricity, heating and cooling, is designed around a1160 kWe genset powered by a gas version of Cummins’ 60-litre QSK60 gas fired engine.

This genset is coupled to an absorption chiller which takes heat energy from the gas engine’s exhaust gases and converts it to chilled water which is then used for air conditioning at the facility.

The tri-generation gas genset provides baseload power each working day between 7 am and 7 pm.

In addition, the standby power system at AgriBio utilises Cummins diesel generator sets – two 1600kW units powered by the QSK60 diesel engine.

A key feature of the power system is that the tri-generation gas genset can synchronise with the standby diesel units and load share in the event of a blackout.

“Cummins’ ability to fully integrate gas and diesel genset technology as well as provide an integrated system solution in design and construct projects is a key differentiator between Cummins and the competition,” says Nick Rousch, senior power generation application engineer for Cummins in Melbourne.

“This technology is proven at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne where Cummins provided a fully integrated system of tri-generation and standby diesel gensets.”

A Cummins DMC300 digital master control system provides the control and monitoring for all the gensets as well as the three utility supplies with three main switchboards.

The power generation team at Cummins Laverton (Melbourne) worked closely with KLM Group – the electrical contractor for the AgriBio project – on the design and construction of the power system.

In particular, the tri-generation aspect required careful design and selection of equipment and systems interlocks to provide the gas supply, ventilation, exhaust system and utility connection arrangement to meet the compliance requirements of Energy Safe Victoria and network provider Jemena.

Commissioning required integration of all building services to test the functioning of the power system under tri-generator operation and under all utility power fail scenarios.

AgriBio is a joint initiative between the Victorian Government, through the Department of Primary Industries (DPI), and La Trobe University (La Trobe).

Grocon was responsible for the design, construction and commissioning of the project.

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