21 June 2012  – Simons Green Energy has been awarded the contract to supply and install a 70 kiloWatt natural gas fired cogeneration unit at the soon-to-be-completed Rydges Sydney’s Airport Hotel (pictured).

The installation of the cogeneration unit will reduce the hotel’s energy costs significantly and its energy usage by 360,000 kWh a year, the company said. It will provide a portion of the hotel’s electricity demands and utilise waste heat to provide hot water for the hotel’s domestic and kitchen requirements.

The unit will be configured to run parallel to the grid and in the event of a grid failure it will supply emergency power for selected services within the hotel.

Cogeneration is the simultaneous production of two forms of energy – electricity and heat from a single fuel source, natural gas, at the point of usage.

Designed and installed by Simons Green Energy, the cogeneration plant is made up of a 70 kiloWatt reciprocating gas engine and hot water storage tanks.

The cogeneration system will be cleaner than coal-fired grid supplied electricity while reducing the carbon emissions by 191 tonnes a year. The hot water will be produced for “free” from the waste heat of the cogeneration plant.

The engineering team from Simons Green Energy is working with the Sydney International Airport Hotel, development manager Denwol Group and contactor Lipman.

Denwol Group director Phillip Wolanski said the objective “was to show some foresight and a real environmental sensitivity”.

“We wanted any green initiatives to be practical, have strong environmental outcomes and provide us with financial payback over time.  The cogeneration unit provides us with these three criteria.”

Rydges Hotels and Resorts will manage the 317-room hotel which will feature a restaurant, café, bar, gym and meeting rooms. The hotel is due to open in mid next year.

Simons Green Energy chief executive officer Derek Simons said the cogeneration system to be installed at the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel would be a great platform for other hotels to follow.

“The system is technologically advanced and very efficient at about 85 per cent conversion efficiency compared with 30 per cent efficiency for conventional grid-supplied electricity,” he said.

“With escalating electricity prices and the pending introduction of a carbon price, the future savings for the hotel will be substantial.”

The Simons team, left to right: Allan Aaron, Cindy Jiao (no longer at Simons), Abhi Sawant, Neil Anderson, Robert Simons, Derek Simons, Mikael Nolan, Toni Simons, Bob Jackson

Simons Green Energy spokeswoman Toni Simons said the company is based at Rosebery in Sydney with an office in Thomastown in Melbourne.

Through Simons Boiler Co the business was originally based on boiler technology but” has progressed to cater for the needs of a wide range of Australian industry and public infrastructure that increasingly require cleaner and more sustainable power and energy systems,” Ms Simons said.

The primary product focus is on cogeneration and trigeneration systems, but the company also offers solar power and hot water generation systems, waste heat power generators, solar desalination systems and high efficiency hot water boilers.

“The ability to offer both the cogeneration and absorption chiller unit from one single supplier, allows for accurate sizing and matching of these two critical components to achieve a seamless trigeneration system,” Ms Simons said.

The offer is for “full turnkey solutions; designing and building complete plant installations; undertaking civil, mechanical and electrical site work, project management and commissioning”.

Currently there are nine staff. Much of the growth has been in the past three years, with two staff added in recent months.

Customers range from aquatic centres to breweries, hotels, RSL clubs, councils, data centres, commercial buildings, schools and hospitals.

Why some cogen and trigen systems is switched off
Ms Simons said one of the most common concerns from prospective customers is that some trigeneration AND COGENERATION units in buildings were not working because the building cannot use enough of energy being produced.

“This is one of the most common questions we get asked,” Ms Simons said , “‘Why go cogeneration/trigeneraton if we know that there are several units not working throughout Australia?’”

Incorrect sizing was generally the issue, Ms Simons said.

“These trigeneration units have been incorrectly sized for the electrical loads of the building. If the unit is not sized correctly the system will not work efficiently and will run as an expensive electrical generator – which is not financially feasible. Correct sizing of the unit is imperative – we spend a lot of time analysing the gas and electricity usage of the venue.”

On the question of feeding power back to the grid, Ms Simons said: “The option of feeding power back into the grid, as enticing as it may sound, is not feasible because of the regulatory barriers faced in the electrical connection of such a system. The electricity supplier is concerned about the potential danger about not having control of all devices on its grid, for example, in the areas of personal safety and equipment safety of the grid.

“Additionally, if these barriers were overcome, the grid would only purchase power at a very low rate, say 4c-10c per kWh. At this rate, the price of gas is more than the revenue that is created by running the unit. It is therefore more cost effective to leave the unit switched off.

“This is the reasons that Simons Green Energy takes particular focus on sizing of the system and modelling of this system in the potential new site.”