Solar and giant “water battery” to slash university’s grid consumption by 40% | RenewEconomy

Solar and giant “water battery” to slash university’s grid consumption by 40%

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University of the Sunshine Coast combines 2.1MW of rooftop solar with massive water tank “battery,” to power campus air-conditioning using complex thermal energy system.

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One Step Off The Grid 

Queensland’s University of the Sunshine Coast is set to slash its grid electricity consumption by 40 per cent, using a combination of 2.1MW of rooftop solar and a massive on-site “water battery.”

The unconventional system, designed and built in partnership with Veolia and now fully installed, will use the more than 6,000 solar panels to cool the water held in the three-storey tank, via a complex thermal process.

The solar PV, which spans across campus rooftops and carpark structures, will produce enough energy to cool 4.5 megalitres of water, effectively acting as a 7MW battery, the university said.

That stored, cooled water will then be used for air conditioning – currently the single biggest consumer of electricity at the Sippy Downs campus.

The system is expected deliver an estimated $100 million saving to the university over the 25-year life of the project, and slash emissions by more than 92 thousand tonnes for the same period.

To read the full story on RenewEconomy’s sister site, One Step Off The Grid, click here…

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2 Comments
  1. Ian 3 months ago

    Not sure how this system works, but the article provides a great tag for a couple of ideas people might like :

    1. Ice storage air conditioning eg Ice Bear

    2. Mitsubishi’s take on water cooled air conditioning . Their “multi watercooled variable refrigerant flow air conditioning.

    This is ingenious. The components are these:
    1.a unit to extract or reject heat to the atmosphere
    2. Insulated piping to carry water around a thermal circuit
    3. Heat pumps which can be
    3.1 water heaters these extract heat from the thermal circuit to make hot water the thermal circuit water is colder after it leaves this unit
    3.2 air conditioner type heat pumps these can operate in the usual heating or cooling modes, when heating a room the thermal circuit water leaving the air conditioning unit is colder than the water entering it and when cooling the room the thermal circuit water is hotter than when it enters .

    Having a common bus between the different types of heat pumps allows heat extracted from a room being chilled to be used to heat another or heat water for showering etc. Finally, depending on the building’s net heat production or heat loss, the atmospheric air to thermal circuit unit either takes heat from the atmosphere or rejects heat to the atmosphere.

    Mitsubishi’s intention for this system is whole building thermal management. Because the exchange of heat is through a water thermal circuit, the various heat pumps are virtually silent, the only noisy unit is the atmosphere to thermal circuit unit which is tucked away on top of the building. You could have dozens of units supplied with air conditioning and water heating without a single noisy external unit on the balconies.

    Such a system could be modified for the suburban home. The thermal elements would be the swimming pool, hot water system, and air conditioner -You could even add the refrigerator- The swimming pool is a huge thermal sink or storage and obviously exchanges heat with the ground and air, heat could be extracted from it using the heat pump of the water heater, and or heat could be rejected to it from the refrigerator or air conditioner. To balance the whole system a roof top radiator or heater may be required. Many homes have existing solar heated pools where black plastic tubes laid in special mats cover part of the roof. In the day, these can gather solar heat and transfer it to a pool, in the night , the same tubes are used in hotter areas to radiate heat from a pool to the night ski. Besides this basic form of solar heat gathering, there are the conventional evacuated tube heaters or flat panel heaters that could be added to this sort of common thermal bus system.

    All the elements have been invented, what remains is to just mix and match, optimise and put it all together. Here the idea is, open sourced, and set free. Help yourselves.

  2. Alan S 3 months ago

    The storage device can be made here by any competent welder and doesn’t need chargers, inverters, battery management systems – or Elon Musk

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