Joining the trigen brotherhood

5 July 2002

Brotherhood Aircogen's trigeneration (electricity, heating and cooling) system for the new £46 million Baltic international art centre in Gateshead, UK, is in full operation following the official opening of the centre in July. The CHP system, designed and manufactured by Brotherhood Aircogen, will provide 400 kW of electrical power and more than 500 kW of heating - or 350 kW of cooling - with a maximum overall energy efficiency in excess of 72 per cent.

The former 1940s Baltic Flour Mills grain warehouse is now a major new arts facility housing more than 3,000 m2 of art galleries, artists' studios, a cinema/lecture hall, a library and an archive for the study of contemporary art as well as three restaurants. The CHP system provides all the new arts centre's power requirements during normal operation. Electrical power generation is synchronised with the electricity grid, allowing the mains to supplement the CHP system if required and to provide emergency back-up. If the grid should fail, the system will operate in 'island' mode until supplies are restored, then synchronise and reconnect with the mains automatically and 'invisibly'.

The CHP system is based on a gas engine combined with absorption refrigeration plant to provide air conditioning during summer months. The engine powers alternators supplying the electrical load; waste heat from the engine provides the heating and cooling. The CHP system is expected to operate at full load only rarely, and significant power savings should be achievable through the use of variable speed controls fitted to the air and water plant electric motors.

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