Following a £19 million Heating and Infrastructure Project, which saw construction of a Combined Heat and Power Plant and Energy Centre in 2009, the university has saved more than 7,000 tonnes of CO2 each year and achieved a 13% reduction in its carbon footprint.
Accompanied by Head of Building Services Gary Gardner, and Head of Environmental Leo Frechou, the Russell WBHO visitors received a warm welcome from the University of Liverpool team which included Carbon and Utilities Manager Anne-Marie Whelan, BEMS (Building Energy Management Systems) Officer Joe Barton and Carbon and Energy Officer Ben Parker.
First up was a tour of the CHP plants and Engine Cells housed in the Energy Centre. The CHP uses gas to generate electricity on site, accounting for almost 90% of the university’s requirements. The system captures the excess heat to be distributed campus-wide via a system of High Grade and Low Grade underground pipes.
The Energy Centre also allows engineers to monitor the electricity and heat produced from the CHP, alongside that received from utility companies. Joe Barton introduced Tridium, the tool that the university uses to monitor and maintain the Building Energy systems. The BEMS system records data to allow engineers to monitor the electricity and heat produced from the CHP along with the energy received from the utility companies. Ben Parker then presented an in-depth look at energy centre and district heating project.
Russell WBHO student Isabelle said: “We learnt that by using gas boilers to generate electricity using the CHP, the university has saved 7,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, which is a 13% reduction in Scope 1 emissions and is financially beneficial as it’s 20% cheaper to generate their own electricity.
“Heat from the energy centre is distributed to building plant rooms via underground district heating pipework around campus. It’s an innovative approach which has resulted in huge benefits to the university and the environment.
“The university has an ambitious target to achieve net zero by 2035 and everything we have seen is part of their decarbonisation journey. We heard how they are now exploring the feasibility of utilising various technologies to further decarbonise the estate, including hydrogen gas, solar PV and air source heat pumps.”
Student Tom Wong added: “Visiting the Energy Centre and seeing the CHP plant in action was fascinating. We learnt about the design of the Centre, which is an impressive modern, bronze clad building, how important it was to ensure its design worked alongside other buildings on the and how the design allows for future maintainability of the plant.
“We were also given a tour of the beautifully refurbished Royal Infirmary Victorian boilerhouse which houses two CHP engine cells, and heard about the challenges they faced when getting the modern machinery into such an old building. It was a fascinating day and we certainly learned a lot about the practical application of carbon reduction methodologies which we will undoubtedly use in our careers in the future.”