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
Caboolture graduate uses degree to help chronically ill 27 May 2020 | New USC graduate Maddison Schuster is now among the hundreds of Sunshine Coast social workers striving to help chronically ill older people access support services, particularly in the age of COVID-19 restricti... More information...
Students help 100 local brands adjust to COVID-19 27 May 2020 | Chef-cooked meals delivered to your door, live-streamed music gigs and home workouts are all signs of brands adjusting well to COVID-19 restrictions, says a USC Australia social media expert. More information...
Thomas searches for gene switch secret 26 May 2020 | USC Honours student Thomas Banks, 21, believes that lobsters could hold the key to understanding an ancient evolutionary mechanism used to “turn off” genes in animals. More information...
New USC graduate on the ball with career decision 21 May 2020 | James Harbidge certainly had 20/20 vision when he deferred his seventh year of refereeing with Queensland Rugby League for his first graduate job on the opposite side of the country. More information...
‘Smart clothes’ on agenda for Moreton Minds talk 25 May 2020 | Wearable technology is changing the way we live, work and play, says the host of an upcoming online talk on the topic. More information...
Graduate goes from catering for parties to caring for patients 21 May 2020 | After previously working as a wedding caterer and chef in Melbourne and Noosa, new USC graduate Nicole Wright is now employed as a mental health nurse at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital (SCUH). More information...
New teacher keen to finally meet her students 18 May 2020 | Recent USC graduate Savannah Epskamp might have started her career as a school teacher during a highly disrupted period of education, but she’s taking it all in her stride. More information...
1,000+ free meals per week for USC students 13 May 2020 | USC students doing it tough during the global pandemic now have access to free, ready-made, nutritious meals at each USC campus to help them focus on their studies. More information...
Graduate seeks out secret life of shy seabird 11 May 2020 | New USC Fraser Coast Animal Ecology graduate Zerra Egerton has taken up the challenge of researching one of the world’s most elusive seabirds. More information...
Student athletes stay ahead of the game during lockdowns 13 May 2020 | Student athletes at USC are benefitting greatly from the forward thinking and creativity of the University’s Sports Clinic Assistant Aaron Turner during the coronavirus pandemic. 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