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Australian university saving big with innovative renewable energy project

Date: 19-Nov-19
Author: Liam Taylor

The University of the Sunshine Coast utilises rooftop solar to generate the power required to cool water.

The University of the Sunshine Coast utilises rooftop solar to generate the power required to cool water.

The University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland expects to cut energy costs by $100 million over the next 25 years after installing a giant experimental battery.

The water battery, which stands around three-stories high, harnesses power from the 6,000 solar panels that cover rooftops around the campus. This power is then used to cool water that is used in the university’s air conditioning system. Through this sustainable cooling system, the battery is expected to save around $100 million in electricity costs and prevent 100,000 tons of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere.

To create the battery technology, the university partnered with French resource management company Veolia. Under the agreement Veolia will own operate and maintain the infrastructure for a period of 10 years, after which time ownership of the infrastructure will transfer to the university.

University Chief Operating Officer Scott Snyder said the battery would be a key element to meeting their goals of being completely carbon neutral by 2025. 

“[Carbon neutrality] is a challenge to any budget because it requires significant changes to the way energy is captured and consumed,” said Mr Snyder in a statement.

“So, we really did have to think out of the box, and by forming a partnership with Veolia, we were able to negotiate a 10-year plan that suited us both and delivered major energy savings to the University.”

Earlier this month, the project was awarded the Out of the Box Award at the 6th Global District Energy Climate Awards 2019.


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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