Specialised Project

Melbourne Airport Tri-Generation Facility

This tri-generation power facility at Melbourne Airport will help reduce energy usage and cut costs, while providing vital emergency back-up electricity supply in the event of loss of mains power. The complex project required meticulous planning and careful design to ensure it meets its performance criteria and adheres to strict planning and regulatory guidelines.

  • Complex facility supplies two-thirds of Melbourne Airport’s power requirements.
  • Designed and built to meet strict performance and regulatory criteria
  • Project planned to minimise disruption and maintain vital power supply

Melbourne Airport, Tullamarine, is one of the country’s busiest travel, transport and freight hubs and this unique project, designed, built and commissioned by Qanstruct for project managers Gallagher Jeffs on behalf of Asia Pacific Airports (Melbourne), provides two-thirds of the airport’s power requirements, powering the entire Virgin Airlines terminal and half of the International Terminal.

Located in TSB1, one of the Airport’s two terminal services buildings, the new 8MW facility generates power by burning natural gas, producing steam which passes through a turbine to produce a continuous supply of electricity. The excess heat from this process is then used to produce chilled water and high temperature hot water to service the terminals’ heating and cooling systems.

As well as providing a vital source of independent power to essential facilities in the event of the loss of mains power, the new facility will help reduce energy consumption (and costs) by generating in parallel with the grid supply during peak periods, and deliver an estimated saving of some 920,000 tonnes of CO2 over its 15 year life span, as Melbourne airport progressively moves towards carbon neutrality.

The facility comprises four, 200kW gas engine-generators with step-up transformers, each capable of independent or continuous group operation; three two-stage absorption chillers; an essential/generator auxiliary transformer and distribution board; cooling towers and master control system. Designed for continuous operation, it required meticulous planning and consultation between Qanstruct and the client to ensure it not only successfully meets its performance criteria, but also adheres to very strict and specific guidelines including noise management and air emissions.

Works also had to be sequenced to minimise disruption to airport services and maintain emergency power at all times, necessitating the staggered installation of new generators to be integrated closely with the removal of the older equipment.