Australia’s first all-electric aquatic centre opens its doors

The opening of the Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre in Melbourne’s western suburbs has been celebrated as Australia’s initial all-electric powered, renewable electricity aquatic centre.

Found in Keilor Downs, the $60 million facility aims to provide an energy-efficient blueprint to councils across Australia. According to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), leisure centres are among the most emissions-intensive buildings owned by regional governments, with gas boilers normally made use of to warmth huge amounts of drinking water for pools and showers.

The Brimbank centre makes use of an built-in approach to holding emissions down. A 500kW rooftop solar technique powers the site, and point out-of-the-art insulation aids maintain indoor temperatures.

A sophisticated four-pipe heat pump procedure can provide simultaneous heat and cooling for the centre – like drinking water-to-water heat restoration for optimum energy performance – and regulates the temperature of both water and air. The heat pump employs renewable strength from the onsite photo voltaic technique, and an 88,000-litre warm h2o storage device functions as a backup thermal battery.

Brimbank Town Council expended two a long time redeveloping the previous St Albans Leisure Centre and was awarded a $1.5 million grant from ARENA for the venture.

ARENA Information Sharing Officer Dr Lisa Randone says the centre is the “first all-electric powered aquatic centre in Australia”.

“The venture will supply precious insights on how to design, build and work a 100 per cent renewable electrical power powered aquatic and leisure centre,” claims Dr Randone. “Other councils will be ready to have access to a broad selection of details which includes fiscal design, emission reduction and other effectiveness metrics.

“I was pleased to see the community fully supportive of the initiative, with proud and loud acknowledgments of the sustainability facet of the venture.”

Graphic courtesy of ARENA.

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New thermal energy battery solution

Australian innovator MGA Thermal is proposing a thermal energy storage answer that aims to deal with the shortcomings of present batteries.

MGA Thermal suggests its new battery design and style will participate in an important position in offering medium-duration storage – a hole for common technology these as lithium-ion electrical batteries and hydrogen electrolysers.  

Lithium-ion electrical batteries are effortlessly billed, quickly to switch on and can produce up to 4 hrs of continuous discharge. Hydrogen electrolysers and pumped hydro are on the other finish of the scale, offering extended-expression storage.

But for photo voltaic energy, medium duration storage – more than four hrs and up to a handful of weeks – is essential to supplying electrical power in the course of the evening and morning peak-desire intervals when solar creation is at a minimum amount.

MGA Thermal is proposing thermal strength storage (TES) as a likely resolution. The technique works by using plentiful renewable electricity produced during the working day to heat a large quantity of MGA’s customized-created product, which then releases the energy as needed when the block cools down overnight.

Employing latent heat of fusion

MGA Thermal’s new battery design and style applies the principle of latent warmth of fusion. According to federal governing administration task backer the Australian Renewable Electrical power Agency (ARENA), this principle is demonstrated in the system of freezing drinking water into ice.

In accordance to ARENA, the latent heat of fusion introduced from transforming 10g of water into a smallish ice dice would be enough to electricity an old-fashioned 100W lightbulb for additional than 30 seconds.

With the assistance of $1.27 million in ARENA funding, MGA Thermal ideas to extrapolate that principle to approximately the measurement of a shipping container, working with 5,000 blocks of graphite with specks of an aluminium alloy scattered throughout: a proprietary medium recognized as Miscible Gap Alloy (MGA).

As an alternative of ice cubes, claims ARENA, believe of big chocolate muffins containing heaps of meltable chocolate chips. And as an alternative of the ice melting at 0°C, the alloy operates among 400–700°C.

Greater probable and scale

ARENA states the new battery structure is a small-price and effective storage program mainly because graphite blocks are low cost, perform heat nicely, and the device operates at high temperatures.

“Renewable electrical power will be utilised to warmth the blocks to their higher running temperatures, melting the embedded aluminium alloy and storing its latent heat of fusion,” states ARENA.

“A heat exchanger program, typically employing h2o or steam, lets dispatched thermal power to be employed specifically in an industrial process, or to heat professional or huge-scale residential spaces, these kinds of as apartment blocks.

Probably, the steam could be used to generate a turbine-generator and develop electricity. On a very large scale, it may possibly even be feasible to repurpose decommissioned fossil gasoline turbines to be powered by battery-created steam.

“That would effectively signify a substantial quantity of MGA Thermal units could act as a grid-scale strength storage facility,” states ARENA.

Long run strategies

MGA Thermal plans to at first make a .5MW/5MWh demonstration-scale system, which really should give sufficient electrical power – if it have been totally converted into electric power – to power a district of 600-in addition homes for 10 several hours. Creation of the initial 5,000 thermal blocks is scheduled to be concluded in excess of 12 weeks up to mid-October 2022.

In accordance to ARENA CEO Darren Miller, MGA Thermal’s exclusive technology has great probable to support the uptake of renewable energy.

“The electricity transition is going to call for a variety of shorter-, medium- and extensive-time period storage systems,” says Miller. “With prospective deployments for industrial heating close employs, MGA Thermal could play an massive purpose in decarbonising both the energy grid and significant business.”

Additional information and facts about the undertaking is offered at the ARENA web site.

Impression courtesy of MGA Thermal reveals (L-R): MGA Thermal co-founders Alexander Put up and Erich Kisi.

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Geothermal solution for sustainable poultry farming

A new hybrid geothermal and solar electricity procedure claims to dramatically minimize emissions and electrical power expenditures for a lot of Australian poultry farms.

The College of Melbourne is teaming up with geothermal firms Floor Source Methods and Fourth Factor Power to create a hybrid geothermal and photo voltaic HVAC procedure specially for the poultry sector.

The task, funded by a $318,000 ARENA grant, will exhibit how the strength needs of poultry sheds can be coordinated with onsite renewable electrical power manufacturing. The aim is to demonstrate the two economic and environmental rewards to farmers to further support the uptake of the technologies throughout the field.

The system involves a floor-source (geothermal) warmth pump technique and comprehensive-scale PV method with gas back again-up, which can provide the HVAC wants of poultry farms. The initial phase of the venture will see a demonstration, complete-scale hybrid method mounted and optimised for efficiency at the industrial poultry farm Bargo in Yanderra, New South Wales, this 12 months.

University of Melbourne Professor Guillermo Narsilio (pictured) suggests the challenge crew has identified 827 poultry farms across Australia that satisfy the circumstances required to changeover to hybrid geothermal and photo voltaic electricity.

“Australia is in an ideal placement to direct the advancement of this engineering and experience the positive aspects in various intensive farming sectors,” says Prof. Narsilio.

“We have earth-class engineering experience, great solar circumstances, and the room to set up geothermal systems. If we can realize 15 to 20 per cent industry uptake in the Australian poultry sector, it would cut down at minimum one particular tenth, or 160,000 tonnes of the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.”

Far more details about the job are accessible at the College of Melbourne site.

Image: Peter Casamento

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Heat pumps show promise in industrial applications

As heat pump technology grows in attractiveness across Europe, Australia has also turned its eye in direction of renewable electricity in industrial options.

Industrial enterprises these as brewers, pet food items producers and foodstuff processors are checking out whether thermal storage and heat pumps could enable reduce the use of purely natural gases.

ARENA equipped $460,500 in funding to the Australian Alliance for Energy Efficiency (A2EP) to enable examine these choices. During the pre-feasibility scientific studies, 10 companies took part in creating the swap to renewable energy.

When not nevertheless widely employed in Australia, a report by World wide Current market Insights predicts the European industrial heat pump market place will raise to USD $300m by 2027. In Scandinavia by itself, the technologies has taken important market share away from traditional fuel boilers.

Two further corporations are now setting up to transition to renewable electricity right after the A2EP scientific tests, like the 3 Ravens Brewery in Melbourne and Hardwick Meatworks in regional Victoria.

They both equally approach to use renewable electrical power from current solar arrays to electrical power heat pumps, and also transfer waste heat from chillers to develop hot h2o for cleaning, sterilisation and packaging.

A2EP CEO Jarrod Leak claims heat pumps are proving to be a fantastic alternative to boost power efficiency and decarbonise heating underneath 100 levels celsius.

“Almost all meals and beverage processing has a desire for sub-100°C heat, specifically for cleaning and sterilising, but also for lots of drying apps,” he claims.

He describes the new heat pump technology remaining made for 150°C warmth will have the means to transform a lot of additional industries these kinds of as brick and paper producing.

Mark Hardwick of Hardwick Meatworks suggests A2EP’s job enabled them to investigate no matter whether warmth pump engineering was suitable for their business enterprise.

“The economics of the research proved that the implementation of the warmth pump for the web-site had a robust business enterprise situation,” he says.

The company’s renewable changeover involves adding a warmth pump with 1,000kW (thermal) of output to their present microgrid. Based mostly on estimates, this would lower Hardwick’s gasoline usage by 75 per cent and reduce CO2 emissions by 450 tonnes. The 1,107MWh per year maximize in electrical power intake would be offset by 1,000MWh of energy produced by a 2nd stage of a solar farm task.

In an interview on ABC’s Four Corners, Hardwick said it’s supporting to lower the company’s footprint.

“Red meat is an intensive kind of output, and something we can do as a business to decrease our footprint as component of that system is great for us, great for the market,” he claimed.

More substantial businesses such as Carlton & United Breweries, Lion and Sunmetals have also fully commited to 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2040.

Leak predicts an uptake in these new systems will stimulate extra than $50 million of financial investment for each year and build hundreds of local employment.

“The possible reduction in normal gasoline use for the producing sector would be extra than 5 PJ/annum or extra than 255,000 tonnes for each annum of CO2,” he states. “This will perform an important role in reducing Australia’s emissions in the ‘hard to abate’ location of course of action heating.”

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AIRAH Awards countdown – Excellence in Innovation

In the guide-up to the AIRAH Awards 2021 gala on February 17, HVAC&R News is profiling the finalists in various award groups.

The Excellence in Innovation classification, sponsored by Mitsubishi Electrical, is open up to all persons, businesses, company bodies, establishments and govt authorities. It recognises substantial Australian enhancements in the places of HVAC&R achieved by way of innovation, together with new or noticeably enhanced techniques or plant and machines or processes. Products and solutions are not eligible in this classification, and the undertaking will have to have been commissioned in the earlier two many years.

The finalists in this category are:

A.G. Coombs and Aurecon, 25 King Road

Australia’s tallest engineered timber business building, 25 King has pushed boundaries in style, construction, indoor ecosystem good quality and sustainability.

The job reached Well core and shell certification at Platinum degree, Environmentally friendly Star 6 star Layout and As Developed v1.1 score, NABERS 6 star foundation setting up energy, 4.5 star water ratings, 3. star NABERS squander ranking, and Weather Energetic carbon-neutral certification.

The difficulties introduced by this massive-scale prefabricated engineered timber design ended up dealt with by means of the near collaboration and innovation of Aurecon and A.G. Coombs, offering a model for foreseeable future HVAC design and installation in this sustainable form of design.

Glaciem Cooling Technologies, Advancing Renewable Strength with Thermal Electrical power Storage

This modern task aims to demonstrate the technological and financial worth of thermal electricity storage employing stage improve content (PCM) and renewable strength optimisation in the industrial and industrial HVAC&R sector.

Conducted throughout a few web pages – in Queensland, South Australia and Victoria – the project obtained $1.96M of funding from the Australian Renewable Electrical power Company (ARENA) to integrate a lot more than 1.1MW of photo voltaic PV with 7.91MW/h of PCM thermal energy storage (equivalent to about 2.86MWh of electric battery storage), controlled with a cloud-dependent manage algorithm throughout 3 of the largest HVAC&R sectors: process heating/cooling, professional making HVAC, and chilly storage.

Exergenics, Queensland Children’s Clinic – exOptima Electronic Twin

Exergenics modelled a electronic twin of the 18MW potential chilled-h2o plant at Queensland Children’s Hospital working with historical BMS details. This MATLAB­-primarily based software was in a position to properly simulate the fluid flows, temperatures and power transfers by way of the chillers, pumps and cooling towers.

An optimisation loop was deployed on the simulation, seeding the model with 1000’s of combos of ambient climate problems and inner cooling loads. The final result was an optimised manage strategy, together with chiller staging, chiller load balancing and condenser water temperature algorithm. The electricity-preserving simulation confirmed a 7 per cent energy reduction by means of the current command logic.

The winner of the Excellence in Innovation award and all the other AIRAH Awards 2021 classes will be introduced at the AIRAH Awards 2021 gala on Thursday, February 17, 2022 in Sydney.

For a lot more details, and to sign-up, go to

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