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O'Donnell Griffin installs low emission back up power systems at Sydney Harbour YHA


    Engineering company O’Donnell Griffin has just completed installing the supplementary power supply for the new $25 million Sydney Harbour YHA hostel and archaeological centre in central Sydney.

    The FG Wilson 250kVA bi-fuel power supply generator, which runs on a mix of diesel and natural gas, will run for 2-4 hours a day at the hostel and will contribute to a cut in harmful generation emissions and energy costs. The generator will also be a critical safeguard for the YHA operation as it will offer essential backup power during power outages.

    This is especially important given the proven vulnerability of Sydney’s electrical supply which has experienced a number of serious blackouts in the past year.

    O’Donnell Griffin installed the state of the art generators subject to a range of heritage considerations at the site in the historic harbourside suburb of The Rocks, 2.8 kilometres north of Sydney’s city centre.

    The FG Wilson bi-fuel generating sets use a mixture of natural gas (70 per cent) and diesel (30 per cent), resulting in cleaner emissions, and lower maintenance and operating costs.

    According to O’Donnell Griffin’s Project Manager Power Generation NSW & ACT, Mr Chris Coote, the bi-fuel sets offered diesel genset power ratings; quick starting; diesel load acceptance/rejection; smaller space requirements per kVA, and a lower weight compared to alternatives.

    The new Sydney Harbour YHA 106-bedroom complex, with stunning five-star Sydney Harbour vistas sweeping from the Harbour Bridge to Circular Quay, also comprises The Big Dig Archaeology Centre situated on the site of Australia’s first European settlement.

    The site contains colonial structural remains dating from 1795 onwards, including houses, pubs and laneways, and more than 750,000 artefacts have been found since digs began in 1994.

    To protect the site and to maintain visual and physical access to the site’s archaeology, the YHA has been constructed in lightweight materials of steel and timber, elevated on pillars above the ‘Dig Site’ (110 Cumberland Street, The Rocks). During construction, the site was covered in a layer of scaffolding to protect the precious remnants.

    YHA went through a strenuous proposal and planning process with The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, which is responsible for the site, to attain approval for the development of the sensitive heritage location.

    According to Mr Coote, YHA’s decision to contract ODG was due partly to its respect for the quality workmanship and reporting standards of the engineering firm.

    “ODG offered the best cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution for this site against its competitors,” he said.

    “To optimise the genset for maximum fuel efficiency and minimum emissions a 200 kW auto load shedding load bank is located on the roof of the YHA building.

    “The amount of diesel fuel that could be stored at the site was a major consideration for the client and consultants and as a dedicated gas set was above the budget, ODG offered a cost effective alternative.”

    The project is also an ODG first in breaking new ground in supplying, installing, commissioning and maintaining this type of genset in Australia, he said.

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