Liverpool Museum

CHP powers major savings at sustainable new museum

Four CHP units have been installed to provide efficient generation at the largest newly-built national museum in the UK for more than a hundred years. 

The prestigious £72 million Museum of Liverpool has installed an advanced combined heat and power (CHP) system, guaranteeing annual energy savings of more than £500,000.

The “trigeneration” technology, which creates highly efficient heat, electricity and cooling, will also reduce carbon emissions by 884 tonnes each year – equivalent to the environmental benefit of taking  295 cars off the road.

ENER-G was commissioned by National Museums Liverpool (NML) to design and install the new CHP system at the Mann Island site – part of the famous Pier Head at the core of the World Heritage Site on Liverpool”s famous waterfront. The installation was  completed ahead of the museum”s opening in July  2011. ENER-G will also operate and maintain the plant for 17 years.

The CHP system is split between a plant room in the new building and the historic Great Western Railway (GWR) Goods Shed on Liverpool”s picturesque waterfront.  ENER-G is converting the Goods Shed into a state-of-the-art energy centre with sophisticated remote monitoring and diagnostic facilities.

ENER-G has designed and manufactured two 385kWe bio-diesel CHP units, two 768kWe natural gas CHP systems and installed two 850kWe boilers, an 1000kWe absorption chiller and a 998kWe conventional compression chiller which will serve all the new museum”s energy needs.

Challenges faced by ENER-G included preserving the GWR building exterior in line with planning conditions as the site is part of a protected view and designing the energy centre to operate independently of the utility electrical supply.

The CHP system generates electricity and recovers the majority of the heat created in the process. In conventional power stations this heat is simply wasted into the atmosphere through power station cooling towers, much energy is also lost along the many miles of electrical distribution cables needed to bring the power to site. Instead, by using CHP to generate electricity on site the heat is used to provide heating and hot water for the museum in the winter, and air conditioning and chilled water  via the absorption cooling system in the summer months. The utility grid supply will provide additional back up, if required. 

The GWR Building housing the CHP plant will also become an educational resource in its own right with a small visitor facility where groups can gain an understanding of the technology and its contribution to the museum”s sustainability. 

The complex energy facilities project, which was funded by the Co-operative bank was awarded the Combined Heat and Power Association”s Innovation Award for 2009 is helping NML boost both its cost and carbon performance.

The museum has been designed to replace the former Museum of Liverpool Life. It provides 8,000 square metres of public space across three floors and demonstrates Liverpool”s unique contribution to the world. It showcases popular culture while tackling social, historical and contemporary issues.