Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence
School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering

Hybrid Cooling Tower Research Facility at UQ Gatton

The Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence has built and tested a one of a kind research facility for improving cooling tower technology suitable for geothermal, solar thermal and biomass power plants.

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Geothermal Centre (QGECE) has developed an innovative new cooling tower technology to reduce water consumption and the cost of generating electricity in regional Australia. Remote Australian communities need cost effective small scale power generation options. Small scale thermal power plants (1-10 MW) using renewable sources (geothermal, biomass and solar thermal) could meet this need, and these technologies require cooling towers that work efficiently at small scale without consuming excessive amounts of water.

The QGECE has developed a polymer-steel cooling tower that has a flexible design allowing operation across the range of dry, wet, and hybrid cooling modes. This tower has a modular construction that is easily deployable to remote sites and dramatically cheaper than concrete cooling towers, particularly at small scales. The demonstration unit, built at the UQ Gatton Campus is large enough to contribute to the efficient supplyof power for up to 1000 people. The QGECE hybrid cooling tower at Gatton is a world first research facility with profound implications for power generation.

The full white paper on the cooling tower can be found here.


Further images and video are available here.