News & Media

EastLink awarded the 2018 ITS Australia National Industry Award

Awards logo 2018 WINNER 150wEastLink's new tunnel ventilation on demand system - one of the first in the world - has been awarded the 2018 ITS Australia National Industry Award.

In Brisbane on Thursday 22 November 2018, Intelligent Transport Systems Australia (ITS Australia) celebrated the achievements of the intelligent transport systems industry in Australia by hosting the ITS Australia National Awards.

These awards recognise professional ITS expertise and raise awareness across all levels of government and community about the benefits of ITS technology to cities and communities, the economy, environment, transportation, and everyday lives.

ITS Australia President Dean Zabrieszach said, “Australian ITS is a significant industry sector, and one that is growing with the advent of not just smart cars, but smart communities.”

“The ITS Australia National Awards are a great opportunity to reflect on the innovative nature of Australian technology development and we congratulate the winners, and all the nominees, in 2018,” he added.

EastLink corporate affairs and marketing manager Doug Spencer-Roy said, “EastLink is delighted that our innovative tunnel ventilation on demand system has won the 2018 ITS Australia National Industry Award. The new system has delivered significant benefits – including a 68% reduction in power usage, a reduction in GHG emissions estimated at 9,000 tonnes CO2-e annually, and a halving of audible noise for local residents.”

To implement the new system, EastLink upgraded ten massive ventilation fans – one at a time and each weighing 7 tonnes – with variable speed drives and more efficient impellers. Each fan was removed through the tunnel, upgraded off-site, then returned to the tunnel facility, with almost no tunnel closures.

EastLink also developed a new intelligent control system, which automatically controls the speed of each fan in real time based on air quality and air flow sensors.

The ventilation on demand project was led by EastLink's environmental manager Alexandra Monson and project director Ian Oxworth. Both Alexandra and Ian have been working with EastLink since the tollway's construction phase (2005-2008), and they continue to deliver environmental and technology improvements for EastLink.

"EastLink congratulates Transurban and GOFAR for reaching the award final - for us to win against such strong competition shows the quality and importance of EastLink's new tunnel ventilation on demand system," said Doug Spencer-Roy.

"We hope that EastLink's winning of the 2018 ITS Australia National Industry Award encourages other tunnel operators in Australia and overseas to upgrade ventilation systems as we have done, and for developers to consider ventilation on demand for future freeway tunnel construction projects," he concluded.

About EastLink's tunnel ventilation on demand system

Since the opening of EastLink, the speed of airflows within the tunnels and stacks was controlled in a traditional way, by switching individual fans on and off at pre-programmed times of the day. When switched on, a fan always operated at full speed.

EastLink identified that this was inefficient.

In April 2018, EastLink completed the implementation of our award-winning innovative solution, the freeway tunnel ventilation on demand system:

  • Ten large ventilation fans upgraded from fixed speed fully off / fully on operation to much more efficient self-regulating or closed loop variable speed operation.
  • New impellers designed for quiet efficient operation installed within each of the existing ventilation fan housings.
  • New variable speed drive motors to regulate the rotational speed of the new impellers.
  • New ventilation control system which uses real-time data from air quality and air flow sensors to dynamically control the speed and number of fans required to meet traffic demand.

For these works, each ventilation fan, weighing over 7 tonnes, was separately removed from and re-installed within the tunnel complex in delicate operations conducted during nights when traffic was lowest. Remarkably, almost no tunnel closures were required for these works. Traffic management was mostly limited to temporary lane closures while at least one lane remained operating.

The results of the new tunnel ventilation on demand system have exceeded expectations:

  • Ventilation system electricity usage reduced by 68%, saving approximately 6.2 GWh each year.
  • This electricity usage reduction has reduced GHG emissions from power stations by an estimated 9,000 tonnes CO2-e annually.
  • Audible noise from the ventilation stacks halved, confirmed by noise measurements, reducing noise for local residents.

The EastLink team receives the award. From left to right:  Dean Zabrieszach  (ITS Australia), Doug Spencer-Roy (EastLink), Ian Oxworth (EastLink), Alex Monson (EastLink), and Roland Pittar (Dept of Infrastructure, Regional Development & Cities):

ITS Australia 2018 Award 600w

9News TV report about EastLink's new tunnel ventilation on demand system:

One of EastLink's two ventilation stacks:

Two of EastLink's ten large ventilation fans, which have been upgraded to variable speed drives with new impellers. These fans are now controlled dynamically using real-time data from air quality and air flow sensors:

A temporary air quality monitoring station has verified that air quality standards in the local community have not been compromised through the introduction of the new ventilation on demand system:

EastLink. Time Better Spent.