Two newly built energy centres will be powering the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games that are now underway. The centres, one to the west of the Olympic Park and the other next to the Westfield Centre in Stratford City, will supply 10 megawatts of power, heating and cooling for the event.
Inside the energy centres are three Jenbacher gas engines. These operate in combined cooling, heat and power—or trigeneration—mode to reduce emissions. A gas turbine generates electricity using natural gas as a fuel. A steam turbine also generates electricity using the waste heat from the gas turbine. Chilled water is generated by absorption chillers using the high-temperature heat available from the exhaust of the unit.
Combined heat and power technologies are more efficient than using separate electrical and thermal power systems and help to reduce emissions from power generation. In this setting, the technology saves around 13,000 tons of CO2 compared to traditional methods of power production.
The energy centres are a cornerstone of London 2012’s plan to increase the use of alternative energy, water conservation and recycling to minimize the environmental impact of the Games. The London Olympic Delivery Authority built the facilities to help reach its target of a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions while meeting the city’s power needs that are expected to surge as more than 15,000 athletes and millions of spectators arrive for the Games.
Engineering the Olympics facts:
- The energy centres will generate the same amount of electricity as that used by 24,000 UK homes
- The combined heat and power plants create a green house gas emission saving that is equivalent to the CO2 emitted by about 6,500 passenger cars in one year
- Ten rail lines serve the Olympic Park
- 30 new bridges connect the site
- The Olympic Park is equivalent size to Hyde Park and is the UK’s largest new urban park for more than 100 years
- 46,000 people have worked on the London 2012 construction project
- 10,000 tonnes of steel were used on the Olympic stadium