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04 December 2009

COFELY has designed, installed and commissioned an award-winning site wide tri-generation system and Energy Centre at MediaCityUK on Manchester’s waterfront. The tri-generation District Energy Scheme won the Combined Heat and Power Association (CHPA) Industrial and Commercial Award in November 2009.

The project involved close liaison with specialist sub-contractor Vital Energi, as well as the clients’ team, comprising Bovis Lend Lease and Peel Holdings.

MediaCityUK is a new community for the creative and digital industries, including anchor tenants the BBC and the University of Salford. Owned and managed by Peel Media, Phase 1 of MediaCityUK (due for completion in 2011) covers more than 36 acres, with the potential to develop up to 200 acres in the future.

Earlier in 2009 it was announced that MediaCityUK has become the first scheme in the world to become a BREEAM approved sustainable community incorporating world leading sustainability into the design of the £500m development.

Phase one of MediaCityUK has incorporated many features to meet the BREEAM criteria, in particular using its greatest asset, water from the Manchester Ship Canal to power, heat and cool the buildings on the 36-acre site. Buildings including the 216-bed-hotel and the seven HD and two audio studios will benefit from the use of a combined heat and power plant energy system known as Tri-Gen, which has many benefits including reducing CO2 emissions.

At the heart of the tri-generation scheme is a new BREEAM Excellent-rated Energy Centre, located on the ground floor of a 2000-space multi-storey car park. This will provide heating and cooling to the new studio block and heating to other areas of the complex. Hot and chilled water are supplied to the buildings via a network of buried, highly insulated pipework – of which over 2000 metres have already been installed by Vital Energi.

The heating, cooling and generating system, that makes up the 40MW tri-generation plant, makes innovative use of water from the Manchester Ship Canal to provide free cooling. COFELY’s design of the Energy Centre provides a high degree of resilience (N+2) to ensure there is no unplanned downtime.

In the tri-generation scheme, electrical power and heat are produced by a gas/biofuel-fired 2MW combined heat and power (CHP) engine. Any heat not required for heating and hot water, particularly in the summer, is used to drive a 1.5MW absorption chiller, which is expected to meet 20% of the cooling load and be supplemented by chillers in the individual buildings. The result is a highly efficient method of generating power resulting in 29% lower carbon emissions compared to conventional methods, with predicted energy cost savings of £560,000 per annum.

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