Projects:  University of Melbourne Neuroscience


Cogeneration Urban Energy Australasia, Melbourne

  • To effectively and efficiently reduce the running costs of the new neuroscience building
  • To reduce the impact on the environment of the new neuroscience building
  • To generate electricity and heating for the new building
  • To achieve a 5 star BASIX rating for the new neuroscience building

Project Scope

The new Neuroscience building will extend the University of Melbourne’s current medical training area to include research areas into brain function, mental health and mental health disorders.

Urban energy was engaged to design, project manage, supply and install an efficient alternative energy system to the facility in order to reduce the electricity usage, reduce the running costs for the centre and to provide an efficient source of heating for the centre. The system installed is a high life expectancy parallel grid Cogeneration system complete with waste heat recovery system.

The new $161m Parkville Neuroscience Facility aims also to be one of the most sustainable research institutes in Australia by installing a range of ecologically sensible equipment. This Cogeneration system is operating as one of the many technological energy and water saving features of the new building including an extensive photovoltaic array and efficient HVAC system.

System Design

The system utilises a sophisticated cogeneration system complete waste heat recovery system to efficiently generate a proportion of the electricity and efficiently generate heating for the new facility. This system is designed to operate for 24 hours of the day in an island connection to operate the mechanical services of the building.

The system:

  1. Creates electricity for use within the facility
  2. Creates heat for use in the hot water generation
  3. Creates heat for heating of the facility in the winter

The hot water and heating water are produced for “free” from the waste heat of the cogeneration plant. The system will provide a peak electrical output 120kW, which provides a “free” 163kW of thermal energy for heating. Urban Energy’s cogeneration systems can reach efficiencies of 95% and achieve full synchronisation to the grid in around 45 seconds.

Project outcome, carbon dioxide and cost savings of system

Urban Energy successfully designed, installed and commissioned this system. The installation process operated smoothly, in a timely manner within budget costing. The system has been operating successfully for over 2 months and has saved a significant quantity of greenhouse gasses for the offset electricity and heating costs of the facility.

By installing this efficient alternative energy electricity generation and waste heat hybrid system, The University of Melbourne has reduced the running costs of the facility and saved significant quantities of Carbon Dioxide, the main contributor to global warming. This system is expected to have a cost payback period of less than three years, and is therefore a very wise investment for the University.

This system has provided an estimated saving of 878 Tonnes CO2 per year compared with a purchasing electricity from the grid and buying gas to generate heat. Therefore this system is equivalent to planting 4,391 trees per year or to taking 195 cars off the road per year.