From a selection of 16 finalists at the Institute of Engineers, Newcastle Region Excellence 2015 Awards held on 29 May 2015, the Solar GRANEX® project received the overall award. Praise from the judges:
“This project is leading edge being at the forefront of technology and innovation. It strongly demonstrates the complete engineering innovation process of research, modelling, design, prototyping, scaling and the application to real world situations. There is use of adapting available components combined with very original research which has produced a novel co-generation plant for delivering low cost heat and power.”
The project utilises heat from three sources – solar thermal, gas backup (waste heat surrogate) and stored thermal energy – to generate power. It demonstrates the use of the working fluid as the solar heat capture medium as well as the effectiveness of low cost thermal storage for power generation after sunset and during extended cloudy periods. It utilises a sophisticated control system to optimally manage the heat sources being utilised for generation, or fed into storage, at any point. It also enabled the development and deployment of a novel and highly sophisticated TurboGenerator (compact, magnetic bearings, semi-hermetic; very low maintenance).
Granite Power thanks its project partners in the fantastic effort that achieved such a successful project, and a particular thanks to the University of Newcastle for nominating the project. A final thanks to Engineers Australia, Newcastle Division, for holding such competitive events that recognises hard work and professional engineering achievements.