In late 2019, we were approached by our client, which was looking for a locally-based Australian company to supply a mobile solar lighting solution for the Gorgon natural gas facility located on Barrow Island, Western Australia. Needless to say, we were happy to oblige!
The Gorgon natural gas facility is the single largest resource project in Australia’s history. This facility is located on Barrow Island, which is a Class A nature reserve and subject to strict operational guidelines and quarantine measures to protect the island’s unique natural fauna and biodiversity.
Due to these regulations, permanent lighting infrastructure is not feasible in all areas, as the ground disturbance required for such lighting is avoided where possible under the project’s environmental approval regime. When we were approached, our client was operating 30+ diesel-driven lighting trailers to allow for the safe completion of critical night works and general activities on Barrow Island. In an effort to reduce operational costs and its carbon footprint, our client was looking for a greener lighting solution.
Another challenge posed to us was the specification for ’Turtle-Friendly’ amber-coloured lighting as opposed to the industry standard white light that is normally used on resource projects and facilities. Once hatched, baby turtles navigate their way to the water, guided by the moonlight reflected on the waves. Bright artificial white light disorients the hatchlings away from the ocean, potentially resulting in hatchling the loss.
A Unique Solution:
Our research, development and engineering teams worked for over 20 weeks with supply chain partners worldwide to develop the bespoke power electronics and illumination performance solution.
Our solution to our clients problem was to innovate and modify the existing Mobile Solar Light Tower Gen 4 (MSLT4) with a bespoke power system and luminaire design to deliver the turtle-friendly light wavelength and intensity required. The prototype required the redesign of the existing MSLT4 power management and controller systems to accommodate the specific requirements of the newly developed amber luminaires.
The EcoQuip MSLT4 is solar-powered with lithium battery storage as standard. This zero-carbon, noise, exhaust and emission mobile light tower has been designed to replace traditional diesel-fuelled alternatives. It reduces overall costs by up to 50% compared to diesel-fuelled mobile light towers and completely eliminates scope 1 carbon emissions.
Once the design, prototyping and laboratory testing were completed, two separate trials were conducted on Barrow Island between January 2020 and February 2021 to prove the newly developed technology.
These trials were closely monitored by our clients technical, environmental, engineering and operational personnel with our MSLT4 enduring rigorous assessment and evaluation. The client’s evaluation of the MSLT4 trial confirmed its outstanding success, which also led to EcoQuip being presented the prestigious “Harry Butler” award for its initiative and dedication resulting in environmental, safety and cost benefits for our client.
At the end of the trial period, an independent lighting assessment recommended the EcoQuip MSLT4 over the incumbent units due to its light wavelength specified having a lower impact on marine turtle nesting activities.
The key benefits in favour of using the MSLT4 over diesel alternatives were listed as follows:
- Compliance with strict operational and environmental guidelines for Barrow Island.
- No refuelling, regular maintenance or replacement components are required.
- Significant reduction of OPEX costs.
- No carbon, noise, odour and carbon emissions, or other environmental hydrocarbon risks.
- Set-up alarms supported by on-site Wi-Fi & 4G telemetry.
- Fully automated operation post-deployment.
- Real-time active battery performance management and data analytics reporting.
- Optional functions such as remote control, real-time data telemetry, close circuit television (CCTV) via Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity, geofencing and satellite GPS tracking of unit location.
- Simple, intuitive HDMI touchscreen control interface.
The final verdict:
An independent recommendation, together with EcoQuip’s commitment to our clients overall objectives throughout the trial duration, led to a first order for the hire deployment of 25 x MSLT4 for a 5-year period. In late 2022, further progress has been made to deploy additional MSLT4 units for upcoming works on Barrow Island. The clients carbon net zero mobile lighting fleet will save <150,000 litres of diesel and abate more than 1,200 tonnes of CO2 each year and deliver robust illumination performance and reliability.
This project was extremely rewarding for the team, and we look forward to working with our client on further projects in the future as we continue to develop innovations that deliver lower costs and scope 1 emission reduction solutions for our ESG focused clients.
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