Sydney, NSW, Australia


Hashem Habibi
Project Manager and Applications Engineer

As part of the Sydney Football Stadium redevelopment project, CAPS’ engineering team were contracted to design, supply and install a new power generation solution when the initial blueprint for the new power plant room was met with challenges during its construction.

This case study explores the custom turn-key power generation solution that CAPS successfully delivered. It demonstrates how CAPS’s in-house engineering project’s team were able to adopt the initial design challenges to maximise space and efficiency in a new plant room design. While at the same time, supporting the operational requirements of Sydney’s futuristic sports and entertainment venue.


Sydney prides itself on upholding a world-class standard for sports and entertainment venues. Originally built in 1988, the Sydney Football Stadium played host to such historic events as the Rugby League World Cup and the Olympics, while also serving as the home ground for the NSW Waratahs, Sydney Roosters for several years.

In 2018, the NSW Government’s decided to redevelop the legacy building and began taking proposals for an entirely new Sydney Football Stadium, as part of the city’s development plan to attract visitors and connect with the local community.

After careful consideration, the NSW Government ended up partnering with Cox Architecture and John Holland for stage 2 design and construct.

With construction commencing in early 2020, the new building was set to include new stadium seating for up to 42,500 spectators and a complete fit out of all the interior commercial spaces, bars, and restaurants.

The modern, open-concept design would introduce the next generation of Sydney sporting events and entertainment while becoming more accessible to visitors from around the world.

The Proposal

In the early stages of construction, John Holland’s Electrical contractor, Fredon Electrical encountered many challenges with the design of the generator room.

The generator room was challenging to accommodate the two generators together with product ancillaries due to the space being a non-standard size and shape which required a lot of co-ordination and technical collaboration between CAPS and Fredon.

Recognising that the stadium would require a more scalable, dependable, and efficient Emergency power generation solution to support its capacity, John Holland and Fredon turned to CAPS Australia, Australia’s leading independent power generation provider, and awarded the Emergency Diesel Generators Design and Construct (D&C) supply contract to their experienced project engineering team.

From there, CAPS Australia’s project team led by Hashem Habibi proceeded to develop a fully-customised, all-in-one power generation solution for the building’s power plant room that would accommodate the scale of the stadium’s events and site-specific power requirements.

The Challenges:

The initial blueprint for the building’s power plant proved to be challenging once construction on the area commenced.

Due to the lack of space in the existing power plant room, contractors encountered many challenges when it came to installing the requisite power generators.

“The plant room design was continually changing and shrinking to meet project requirements as the project evolved, by the time we came onto the project, the plant room layout had vastly changed”, says Hanney Hamza – Branch Manager at CAPS Sydney.

According to Hanney, efficiency in terms of space, cooling and exhaust coupled with the stringent noise level were critical in the design and layout of the new emergency diesel generator plant room. This was challenging as our design needed to be aesthetically pleasing whilst adhering to the architectural requirements and the buildings open concept design.

“When we came into possession of the initial blueprint for the building, we discovered that the plant room was placed right next to a thoroughfare that would have a lot of foot traffic during events. This left little space to accommodate the necessary equipment in a way that would not expend an excess of noise and heat during events.”, explains Pragnesh Vaghela – Sales Engineer.

“Not only would this create an uncomfortable experience for visitors using the thoroughfare, but it posed a health and safety risk for the site’s maintenance staff.”

Traditional diesel power generators are normally furnished with a skid-mounted cooling system where a radiator is installed on each engine. However, without adequate space for ventilation, the initial design risked the overheating of plant room and generator sets.

After CAPS’ engineering team visited the site to gather requirements, they concluded that the plant room would need a complete overhaul to ensure the power generators and equipment perform faultlessly.

“We welcomed the project’s challenges as an opportunity to demonstrate capabilities in terms of power supply engineering, design, and technical support,” says Hashem Habibi – Project Manager.

“And by working closely with the client and involving all parties and stakeholders, we were able to adopt those challenges and develop a workable solution for the stadium’s operational requirements.”

Our Solutions

Once John Holland and Fredon entrusted CAPS with the venue’s Diesel power generation requirements, CAPS Project engineering team set to work on developing a power generation solution that would suit the requirements of the Sydney Football Stadium’s events and activities.

“Because of the unique set of challenges on this project, we had to think outside the box about how we could achieve the best possible results for the client,” says Hashem.

To maximise efficiency on power generation, CAPS supplied, installed and commissioned two custom packaged KOHLER KM2100 open generator sets rated at 2000kVA and 11kV.

“We had the two KOHLER generators custom built to spec because they are one of the most robust, cost-effective units available on the market for power generation,” explains Andrew Wong – Controls and Commissioning Lead. “From there, we tackled some of the other design challenges such as cooling of the generator sets, plant room and noise attenuation.”

Remote Cooling System

To reduce space in the power plant room, CAPS fitted each power generator unit with a premium grade diesel engine and heat exchanger for cooling which connected to a custom-built remote radiator that was installed on the roof of the building.

“The remote radiator solution directs water flow vertically for cooling,” explains Hashem. “We also ran exhaust pipes up to the roof to dispel exhaust fumes from the interior space, and utilised water pumps that carry heated coolant up to the roof to be cooled, before being cycled back down again into the diesel engine heat exchangers.” The result was a streamlined cooling system for the plant that maximises efficiency and space.

Noise Reduction

Ambient, vibrational and/or noise was a concern with this diesel power generation projects as any excess noise will compromise the safety and peace of mind of those nearby.

“Repetitive noise from diesel generators over time can result in hearing loss for workers in the environment and is unpleasant for the community,” explains Pragnesh. “Noise control measures must be in place to protect the health and safety of workers and the public. The decibel output must comply with the appropriate land use and local council regulations, and account for the proximity of the power plant room to public areas.”

Reducing the room’s vibrational noise level required high efficiency vibration mounts installed on each power generation unit. Additionally, CAPS installed soundproof wall lining in the plant room to neutralise and reduce the ambient noise before it passes through the walls to the walkway outside of the power plant room.

The result was a near silent power generation plant room solution meeting project specification requirements that would be undetectable to visitors passing by on the thoroughfare and safer for plant room maintenance workers.

Generators Start-Up

The project requirement was that, upon a Mains failure, the two emergency power generators synchronise, once the two generators have synchronized and stabilised, they are ready to supply the stadium load which is all within 60 seconds, this time also includes all the required HV switching. This meant that there wasn’t sufficient time to sequence, Once the switching is all completed the generators begin to energise the five individual transformers downstream, the challenge is all five transformers need to be energised in unity.

The challenge was to cope with the high total in-rush current of the transformers, which was far above the overcurrent limit of both generators collectively, this meant the generators would overload and trip in a few seconds after start-up, in other words the generators wouldn’t be operational. This could have been a total failure for the Emergency Power system.

CAPS engineering came up with a non-conventional solution and utilised the dead-bus synchronisation methodology, modifications in the generator controllers were carried out at site by CAPS engineering and the system was successfully tested in compliance with the requirements, says Andrew.

The Results

CAPS’ final proposal for the project was a premium grade, turn-key power generation solution for the stadium that included detailed specifications for the plant room design; the supply of customised state-of-the-art power generator units, the installation of noise attenuators and soundproof walls; and mounted heat exchangers with remote cooling and exhaust silencer.

CAPS’s unique selling proposition on the design and construct contract was their dedicated engineering capabilities that could provide all of the requisite installation and support services, meet the specifications of projects, and oversee the whole process from design, installation, commissioning, testing and post-commissioning support.

Following the successful installation of the new power generation solution, CAPS’ engineering services team will continue to provide 24/7 after sales service and perform regular maintenance on the system.

The building is slated for completion ahead of the NRL Grand Final in 2022. As construction nears completion on the Sydney Football Stadium, CAPS’ power generation solution will play an important role in the operation of the stadium when it opens to the public.

We’d like to thank John Holland, Fredon and the Sydney Football Stadium for allowing us to partner on this very important project.

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