Power generation

A female mechanic works on a large generator inside the power house at Davis station
Generator maintenance at Davis station (Photo: Chris Burns)
The engine room of the main power house. Rows of large diesel engines. The main power house on Macquarie Island.

Power is generated at each of Australia’s stations in the main power house (MPH) using diesel powered generators. There is also an emergency power house (EPH) as a backup and in case of major power failure.

The Mawson power supply is also boosted with wind powered turbines which can supply up to 95% of the station’s power requirements in times of high winds.

In the MPH, the generator sets produce both electricity and heat. The waste heat generated by the engine cooling system is captured and used to heat the stations. This process is known as cogeneration. The use of waste heat in this way results in a saving of up to 50% of the station power requirements.

The cogeneration system normally provides most of the station heating requirements during the summer months, and a substantial amount during the winter months.

At Casey, Davis and Mawson, the MPH is powered by four Caterpillar 3306, turbocharged generator sets, each of 125 kW capacity. All are fitted with Stamford alternators. Depending on the energy requirements, up to three of these generators run at any one time.

As the station on Macquarie Island is much smaller, power is generated by just two of these Caterpillar generators fitted with 160 kW generators. Most of the time one engine is sufficient to supply the station power.

EPH power supplies vary from station to station. At Casey, the EPH is equipped with two Caterpillar 3412 turbocharged diesel generators, each of 385 kW capacity. At Davis, the EPH houses two Caterpillar 3306 turbocharged diesel generators, each of 125 kW capacity, as in the MPH. The EPH at Mawson is equipped with one Caterpillar V12 turbocharged generator with a capacity of 384 kW. The EPH at Macquarie Island has two 3306 Caterpillar motors fitted with 125 kW generators. All the EPH generators are fitted with Stamford alternators.