Qantas has launched one of Australia’s largest trigeneration power plants, designed to supply the airline’s Sydney headquarters with clean energy for electricity, heating and cooling.
Trigeneration is a low-carbon form of energy production that is more than twice as efficient as traditional coal-fired generation. An engine powered by natural gas generates electricity, and the excess heat from the process – which would otherwise be lost – is captured and redirected to provide hot water, refrigeration and air conditioning.
Qantas expects the new plant to help cut carbon emissions by around 14,000 tonnes per year – the equivalent of taking 3,500 cars off the road.
The facility, constructed by Grid X under a Build, Own, Operate and Maintain contract, is located adjacent to Qantas’ Mascot offices. It has a capacity of eight megawatts. A second, smaller plant with a capacity of four megawatts will be constructed to supply Qantas’ Terminal 3 building at Sydney Airport.
Qantas’ Head of Environment, John Valastro, said trigeneration was part of the airline’s drive to operate more efficiently.
“We are committed to reducing our energy use and carbon emissions on the ground as well as in the air, and trigeneration is a big step forward for us in Sydney,” Mr Valastro said.
“With the introduction of trigeneration we expect our energy star rating to increase from one and a half stars to five stars, under the government-endorsed NABERS system.
“More than 4,000 employees work in the buildings that will be powered by this new facility. It made perfect sense to introduce trigeneration as part of the broader upgrade of our Mascot campus.
“The facility will supply not just our office buildings but also our catering centre and jet base – and, by the end of 2013, our Sydney domestic terminal as well. We’re proud to be one of Australia’s first big companies to adopt trigeneration power and we’re looking forward to reaping the benefits of this smart, efficient technology.”
Trigeneration is part of the Qantas Group’s comprehensive environment strategy, which includes investment in fuel-efficient aircraft and navigation technology, biofuel research, carbon offsetting, energy consumption targets and partnership with environment-focused community organisations.
Qantas’ sustainability work has been recognised with a Banksia Award and through inclusion on the Carbon Disclosure Project leadership index and the FTSE4Good index.