Qantas launches sustainability project

Guest Writer

SYDNEY, 25 February 2010: Qantas today announced it would break new ground by introducing energy-efficient tri-generation power at three of its Sydney facilities.

Two power plants will be constructed by provider GridX to serve Qantas’ Sydney Jet Base, catering centre and domestic terminal. The construction of the plants will be the largest commercial tri-generation project in Australia* and the first undertaken by an Australian airline.

Qantas Chief Risk Officer, Mr Rob Kella, said tri-generation power had a vital role to play in Qantas’ overall environmental strategy.

“We estimate that tri-generation in Sydney could account for more than 50 per cent of Qantas’ targeted reduction in electricity use, with the savings in emissions alone approximating 6000 fewer cars on our roads per year,” Mr Kella said.

“It will increase the security and reliability of our electricity supply and enable further maintenance and operational savings. Qantas is a major industrial energy user and property owner in Australia, so this project represents a substantial commitment to improving our sustainability performance.”

By capturing heat that would otherwise be lost, tri-generation can achieve energy efficiencies of around 80 per cent, compared with an average of 35 per cent for a conventional supply of energy from the grid.

“While Qantas is strongly committed to advancing the fuel-efficiency of its flying performance, we are also focused on bringing down emissions from our activities on the ground,” Mr Kella said.

“Today’s announcement complements other important Qantas initiatives in this area, such as our decision to join the global Sustainable Aviation Fuel Users Group (SAFUG) and ongoing trials of Required Navigation Performance (RNP) flight paths - as well as our carbon offset and recycling programs.

“These measures are part of a sustainability package that is fundamental to Qantas’ long-term business strategy.”

Russell Marsh, Policy Director for the Clean Energy Council, said the project would mark an important milestone in the emergence of tri-generation power in Australia.

“Tri-generation is still an underused technology in this country and we would like to see more companies employing it to save energy and greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Marsh said.

“The ability to produce cooling, heating and electricity generation simultaneously from a single fuel source shows the kind of quantum leaps we need to make in order to respond effectively to climate change.”

Construction of the new facilities is expected to begin by mid-2010 and be complete by mid-2011, under a 15- year Build, Own, Operate and Maintain (BOOM) arrangement with GridX.

*Clean Energy Council estimate.

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