The new £333million Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) is to have the largest fuel cell installation in the UK and on a par with the largest in Europe. UK energy engineering specialist and SHFCA member Doosan Babcock is to supply the low emission fuel cells after a ground-breaking deal that will see the creation of a dedicated on-site Energy Centre to provide power, heat, and cooling to the new AECC. Providing a total electrical output of 1.4MW, the AECC Energy Centre will also reinforce Aberdeen’s status as Europe’s Energy Capital.
Aberdeen City Council Leader Councillor Jenny Laing said: “I am delighted that Doosan Babcock are to provide such an innovative part of the new AECC. “The new AECC will be a modern and fit-for-purpose facility, attracting bigger names in entertainment and more major international events and conferences to the north-east, so it is fitting that it will be leading in fuel cell technology. The venue will be a fantastic asset for Aberdeen as part of the City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan, and it is great that such an experienced company in Doosan Babcock will be a part of our city’s future.”
Henry Boot Developments is Aberdeen City Council’s development partner for the new AECC. Nick Harris, Director at Henry Boot Developments said “The new AECC will showcase innovation in a number of areas. The energy centre is a great example of this, delivering greater efficiency and environmental benefits through the use of new technology. The energy centre has been designed as a highly efficient method for providing heat, power and cooling for the new AECC and other buildings on the site. It is a hybrid combined cooling, heating and power (CCHP) installation utilising grid electricity, mains gas and private pipe bio methane.”
The new exhibition and conference centre for Aberdeen and the north east will generate 600 new jobs during the construction period and 352 full-time-equivalent permanent positions by year 10 of operations, and is a key element of Aberdeen City Council’s Strategic Infrastructure Plan to grow and bolster the local economy. It will anchor existing international events and competing nationally and internationally for new events, as well as by broadening the appeal of the north-east to a global audience. Over the next 10 years, the new AECC is expected to attract major artists and events to the city, and contribute an additional 4.5 million visitors, £113 million of visitor spend and £63m net GVA to the Scottish economy.
Due to open in 2019, the new venue situated beside Aberdeen International Airport will provide four times the exhibition space available at the current AECC, and increase the maximum capacity to 12,500 in the arena. Working with development partner, Henry Boot Developments, M&E project contractor, FES and principal contractor Robertson Group, Doosan Babcock will supply three 460kW Doosan Purecell® units to provide an independent source of reliable, affordable, low-emission heat and power for the 150-acre site. The landmark AECC contract reinforces the credentials of fuel cells as a leading technology in the low-emission, high-efficiency combined heat and power market.
Originally pioneered by organisations such as NASA over 50 years ago, fuel cell technology now delivers a well-proven commercial heat and power solution, delivering significant air quality improvements over conventional power generation methods. There are now more than 140 Doosan Purecell® systems providing reliable, decentralised heat and power to industrial, commercial and municipal facilities worldwide.
Doosan Babcock Chief Executive Officer Andrew Hunt said: “We are thrilled to be involved in such an exciting and transformative project. The AECC and Energy Centre will contribute in multiple ways to Scotland’s economy and environment, as well as providing a pioneering example of how cities and businesses can effectively meet environmental targets. We look forward to working with FES and the Robertson Group in delivering an innovative and practical energy solution for the AECC.”
Fuel cells transform chemical energy from fuel into final electrical and thermal energy through cogeneration. The fuel cell cogeneration process delivers heat and electricity output more efficiently than the separate production of electricity and heat. Fuel cells are flexible in terms of fuel input and can operate on natural gas from the national grid, locally produced renewable biogas or hydrogen fuel with zero emissions. Fuel cell installations can comprise single units to power commercial buildings, or multiple units for serving larger complexes, such as data centres, industrial facilities and microgrids.