Technology & Design Students visit ContourGlobal

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Technology is all around us. Everywhere we look we see the impact of good design and careful implementation. It impacts us every hour of every day. How we travel, communicate, work and learn is changing.

 

The food and drink we consume are not excluded. On Wednesday 16 September Form 4 Technology pupils travelled to the Coca-Cola bottling plant at Lisburn. But we were not there to see the popular fizzy drink being packaged. Instead we were guests of ‘ContourGlobal’, an electricity generating company, who were in this case, powering the Coca-Cola plant.

 

 

We learned how ContourGlobal had designed the power generating facility specifically for Coca-Cola who had very special requirements.

 

Firstly the plant provides Coca-Cola with electricity to power its bottling equipment. Secondly ContourGlobal also captures and cleans the Co2 from the burning of the natural gas in its engines and supplies it directly for making the Coke fizzy! Thirdly the plant captures the engine’s exhaust gas to provide hot water and steam. Lastly, heat recovered from the engine’s cooling system is transformed to chilled water via an absorption chiller. This four strand process is called Quad-Generation and in Lisburn provides an output capacity of 15MW, that’s 15000000 watts of power!

 

We saw up close the huge 20 cylinder engines that generated this power and felt its heat and experienced the noise it made! We saw the huge die cast steel cylinder heads that had been taken from the engines and learned of their cost!

 

In addition to the work in N.Ireland, we learned how ContourGlobal had used trapped methane from Lake Kivu in Kibuye, Rwanda to provide the local area with clean energy and subsequently how they had provided employment and increasing hopes of prosperity for the region. The lake incidentally is half the size of Ireland. See a link to a video of the project below.

 

 

 

 

The visit highlighted the need for us not to think of the subjects we study as stand alone disciplines but instead realise how each is necessary, one for the other. Chemical engineers design the process. Mechanical engineers design and build the generators. Computer programmers design the software to control the machines. Business analysts and managers ensure the facility is profitable while skilled Linguists ensure that no matter where the business takes us we can communicate one with another.

 

An invaluable experience and one we most certainly hope can be repeated.

 

Finally a sincere thank you to Lorne Kavanagh and his team for taking the time out of their busy day to facilitate us and for making us so welcome. (and for the Coke)

 

Mr Palmer

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