A new way to power universities: USC cooling campus with ‘water battery’

Published:

The University of the Sunshine Coast has this week switched on an unconventional new system that will slash 40 percent of grid energy use at its largest campus.

The thermal energy storage tank – designed and built in partnership with global company Veolia and dubbed ‘the water battery’ by staff – is the first of its kind at an Australian university.

In contrast to traditional solar and battery systems, the system consists of a three-storey tank of water that will be cooled by a complex thermal process powered by more than 6,000 solar panels installed across the campus at Sippy Downs in Queensland, Australia.

The cooled water will be stored and used for air conditioning, which is currently the single biggest user of electricity at the campus.

USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said the system’s launch was a significant milestone in the university’s bid to become carbon neutral by 2025.

“Air conditioning accounts for 40 percent of our daily energy usage, so by eliminating this we are taking a major step towards our carbon neutral goal,” Professor Hill said.

“For a regional university to be leading the way on this is proof that we don’t need to be in the big cities to be taking big strides in new ideas in renewables, and for us that’s very exciting. 

“This technology has the potential to change the way energy is stored at scale and we are hoping other organisations take inspiration and indeed copy us. The team behind this is already sharing the technology with schools, universities and companies around the world.

“At the same time, USC is using the technology to teach student engineers, designers and leaders of the future, while staff and students are able to track our energy savings through real-time monitoring across the campus.” 

The system is expected to save more than 92 thousand tonnes of CO2 emissions over 25 years, equivalent to the carbon emissions of 525 average Australian houses for the same period. It will lead to an estimated $100 million saving over the 25-year life of the project.

The 2.1 megawatt photovoltaic system, with panels spread across campus rooftops and carpark structures, will produce enough energy to cool 4.5 megalitres of water, effectively acting as a seven-megawatt battery.

Danny Conlon, CEO and Managing Director for Veolia Australia and New Zealand said, “We’ve enjoyed working with USC on such a unique and complex project. By working closely with the University, we’ve delivered a solution that makes them a leader in sustainable energy management in Australia. We're delighted about the environmental and financial benefits this will bring them.”   

 
Community Energy & Water Environment University & TAFE
Social:   

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
USC scientist joins world-first lobster research hub 17 September 2019 | A USC molecular researcher who pioneered a technique to change the sex of crustaceans will play a vital role in a $26 million, five-year joint project to establish the world’s first land-based rock lobster... More information...
Honorary award for inclusive social sport volunteer 19 September 2019 | A Buderim volunteer helping drive the expansion of inclusive sport on the Sunshine Coast to encourage more social interaction between able-bodied people and those with disabilities will become a USC Honorary... More information...
Honours researcher in running to ease rare disease 12 September 2019 | A USC Dietetics Honours student determined to live a fit and healthy life despite a rare and debilitating genetic disorder has launched her national survey into the condition on the same weekend she completed a... More information...
USC to host Lightning’s Community Thank You event 15 September 2019 | USC is hosting the event to give fans the chance to meet players and coaching staff, collect signatures, and to say farewell to the club’s foundation coach Noeline Taurua. More information...
A meeting of cultures for print symposium 11 September 2019 | USC’s Art Gallery will soon host a two-day public forum featuring a Japanese print art expert to coincide with the opening of a stunning exhibition of Japanese and Australian print art at Caloundra Regional... More information...
USC Journalism graduate wins statewide award 10 September 2019 | Drew Beveridge is no doubt flying high after she was named Queensland’s most outstanding final-year journalism student. More information...
USC backs Lightning with ‘wear yellow to work’ day 10 September 2019 | USC staff will be sporting the colour yellow tomorrow (Wednesday 11 September) as a bright show of support for Sunshine Coast Lightning ahead of the Suncorp Super Netball grand final on Sunday 15 September. More information...
Today is World Suicide Prevention Day 10 September 2019 | We have received overwhelming response from the community in support of our World Suicide Prevention Day mission: to train 100 people as suicide-alert community gatekeepers. We see gatekeepers as people whose... More information...
Study finds value for money trumps online ratings 09 September 2019 | Online reviews have revolutionised the way travellers select hotels, but a USC researcher has found when it comes to swaying consumers, ratings cannot beat old fashioned price and location.  More information...
Peony scientist breaks new ground for cut flowers 09 September 2019 | One of the world’s most popular flowers – the peony – can now be grown in hot climates, following a discovery that could disrupt the multi-billion dollar global cut flower industry. More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service