New UK museum to use biodiesel trigeneration plant

The largest newly-built national museum built in the UK for more than a hundred years is to be powered by a combination of gas and biodiesel-fuelled CHP and 'trigeneration' units from the Manchester-based sustainable power group ENER-G. The prestigious new £72 million Museum of Liverpool is guaranteed annual energy savings of more than £500,000.

The trigeneration technology, which creates heat, electricity and cooling, will also reduce carbon emissions by an estimated 900 tonnes each year.

ENER-G was commissioned by National Museums Liverpool (NML) to design and install the new CHP system at the Mann Island site – part of the famous Pier Head at the core of the World Heritage Site on Liverpool's famous waterfront. The installation will be completed by the spring, ahead of the museum's opening in 2011. ENER-G will also operate and maintain the plant for 17 years.

The CHP system is split between a plant room in the new building and the historic Great Western Railway (GWR) Goods Shed on Liverpool's waterfront. The company is converting the Goods Shed into a state-of-the-art energy centre with sophisticated remote monitoring and diagnostic facilities. Challenges faced by ENER-G included preserving the GWR building exterior in line with planning conditions and designing the energy centre to operate independently of the utility electrical supply.

The CHP system will provide the lead power supply for the site, meeting all of the Museum's daily requirements for heating, cooling and power. The utility grid supply will provide additional back-up, if required.

ENER-G has designed and manufactured two 385 kW biodiesel CHP units, two 768 kW natural gas CHP systems, two 850 kW boilers, a 1000 kW absorption chiller and a 998 kW conventional compression chiller which will serve all the new museum's energy needs.

The GWR Building housing the CHP plant will also become an educational resource in its own right and NML, together with ENER-G, will create a small visitor facility where groups can gain an understanding of the technology and its contribution to the museum's sustainability.

Commercial law firm Hill Dickinson, working with Cynergin Consultants, advised NML on the outsourcing of the design, installation and operation of the new energy facilities – setting out a complex set of agreements between NML and ENER-G. The project is being funded by The Co-operative Bank



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