Delivering a robust blackout plan for Adelaide’s newest hospital

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The new $1.85 billion new Royal Adelaide Hospital has gained plenty of attention for its energy efficient design and ‘green’ onsite generation systems. But with 40 technical suits across 13ha, reliable power supply is critical.

The new Royal Adelaide Hospital has been designed with patient care and the wellbeing of staff front-of-mind. A focus on fresh air, natural light and environmentally sustainable practices is typical of the city’s new approach to public spaces. There are even ‘sky gardens’ to provide enclosed, naturally ventilated spaces.

Nonetheless, the site is still a hospital with significant power demands and, if the lights do go out, Penske Power Systems has supplied and installed six 20V 4000 DS 2650 diesel generators to deliver standby power.

Tucked away within the hospital’s east and west plant rooms are six 21 tonne MTU units. Featuring integrated exhaust, controls and silencer systems, each unit ensures the delivery of a combined output of 12.48MW.

Specified for work in black start conditions, the MTU configuration can deliver 100 per cent capacity to the entire hospital site within just 28 seconds. Importantly, the 3D-listed units deliver 2.08MW each, and boast fuel systems capable of extending to 72-hour intervals.

Penske Power Systems delivered the complete design and installation, including full generator design and customised control systems to support the building’s critical infrastructure.

The MTU solution forms the fundamental path for power start-up in the event of a mains outage, systematically re-engaging power to critical zones not only in the hospital, but also throughout the entire site. Importantly, the MTU gensets maintain critical operations at high ambient temperatures, and also comply with detailed earthquake requirements as part of the RAH’s Tier 1 disaster recovery hospital classification.

Due to the scope and size of the project, Penske Power Systems allocated a full-time senior project manager, John Elliott, to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital. Penske’s engineering team also completed a full equipment risk assessment and support for system integration, as well as building additional system protection features into genset controls.

“The entire control philosophy was formed with help from RCR O’Donnell Griffin and Nilsen on the technical components throughout a six-month period,” Mr Elliott says.

Due to the complex and stringent requirements of the power management control system, RCR O’Donnell Griffin requested the assistance of PM Control to advise and supply a suitable solution.

The advanced control system utilises the top-of-the-range Woodward EasyGen and LS5 controllers for generator synchronisation and mains paralleling. A master generator control panel with integrated high resolution touch screen interface manages the entire control philosophy, ensuring reliable and robust reinstatement of power to the hospital in the event of mains supply disruption.

RCR O’Donnell Griffin design engineer Alvin Lee says the control system is highly versatile and fully customised
to meet the hospital’s power management requirement.

“The system employs a high level of redundancy, where the failure of a single component will not affect continuous operation of the standby power system,” he says.

“Its core function is to restore stable power to the building’s critical infrastructure in as little time as possible.”

Penske Power Systems’ service team will work with the hospital’s facility management to maintain the generators on a monthly basis.

Credit: Energy Source & Distribution