Christchurch Hospital and the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT) could be pivotal in getting an innovative $400m cogeneration energy scheme for Christchurch, New Zealand.

Three feasibility studies investigating aspects of a proposed district energy system (DES) say it is “very promising” and could be done in the rebuilt central city, reports the Fairfax News.

But they suggest a softly, softly approach, warning that key buildings need to be part of the scheme from its beginning and that temporary boilers on either side of the city would be needed while pipes were being laid.

The proposed project would provide space heating, water heating and air conditioning from a central power and heat co-generation plant fuelled by wood chips or wood waste.

A 10 kilometre network of pipes would transport hot and cold water from the plant into buildings. It would allow owners to dispense with their own boilers, air conditioners and chillers, and cut electricity use.

The idea was one of many put forward through the Christchurch City Council’s Share an Idea campaign.

The technical study, by a consortium of Bizcat, Aurecon and FVB, recommended a “phased” scheme that could be expanded as the rebuild progresses, while the KPMG investment study said the project could be commercially successful using that phased approach.

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