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Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa has won the Innovation category of the EECA Business Awards.
The award was given tonight (September 26) at a gala dinner in Auckland.
The complex has recently begun trialling New Zealand’s first 65kW Capstone micro turbine generator which converts methane from its thermal water bores into electricity.
General Manager Graeme Abbot says the generator is turning the waste gas into valuable energy.
“We used to release the methane into the atmosphere or burn it off. The generator will turn it into around 305,000 kilowatt hours of electricity each year which is about 14.5% of our total annual use.”
Abbot says the project has been in the pipeline since 2007.
“It’s been a long and complex process which involved us having to procure the smallest mining permit in the world! We have worked with some industry experts and New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals to do this and are especially grateful for the assistance EECA gave us.”
The complex invested more than $300,000 in the project but Abbot says the electricity savings means that money will be recovered within eight years.
“We are not finished yet. The next project we are tackling is how to use the heat generated from the turbine elsewhere in the complex so we can further reduce our environmental footprint.”