Medical equipment maker ResMed is considering building a co- or tri-generation plant in north-west Sydney for its data centre, manufacturing facility and offices.
Facility manager Matthew Quinn told a gathering in Sydney yesterday that although the site had significant substation capacity, the rising cost of power in NSW had the potential to create challenges in the longer term.
He said ResMed was reviewing the co-generation/tri-generation idea with existing consultants to determine whether or not it was feasible.
Co-generation plants create electricity but also harness the heat created in power generation as an additional energy source. Tri-generation adds cooling energy generation to that equation.
“It makes sense theoretically,” Quinn said. “We’ll go through a review process first, then if it’s all feasible we’ll look at doing it.
“We’re lucky because we have the space and capex to do it.”
Quinn said it was possible that, if given the green light, the plant would be built in partnership with an energy utility.
Cogen and trigen were not the company's only energy-related initiatives or concerns.
ResMed recently installed Eaton Power Xpert software in a $60,000 project, of which the software cost was around $10,000.
The software enables system-level of management of the power infrastructure.
It was hoped the software would help ResMed reduce its electricity use by 10 percent and water use by five percent.
It was chosen because it could integrate with ResMed’s different building management systems on the campus at Norwest business park in Sydney’s north-west and because of the simplicity of the user interface, Quinn said.
UPS upgrade in data centre?
ResMed’s data centre was built in 2006. About half the floor space was fitted out with racks; however, equipment had since been consolidated into about half of that space again, Quinn said.
“We’re down to 50 percent of that original floor space but the power usage has gone right up,” he said.
“We might have to replace or upgrade our uninterruptible power supplies (UPS).”
Unlike some data centres, the data centre’s power was not constrained by the substation, which had capacity to accomodate the site’s “full master plan which included another three buildings” that were now unlikely to be constructed.
Most power was used by the company’s on-site manufacturing plant rather than the data centre, he said.