Expanding options for renewable energy
Technologies that produce renewable, zero emissions electricity will be critical to achieving rapid reduction of fossil fuel emissions. But this alone is not enough. We also require systems that can deliver renewable electricity reliably, efficiently and at low cost. In addition, we will need zero emissions fuels that provide energy to sectors that can’t take full advantage of fixed electricity networks.
Researchers at the NZI are investigating ways to optimise renewable power and power storage systems in order to provide reliable, low-cost renewable electricity. They are also researching where improvements in the individual components of renewable power systems will provide the greatest benefit. This work, which builds on the University’s strength in digital science, will inform the development of techniques to increase the efficiency and lifespan of components.
Unfortunately, fixed renewable electricity networks aren’t a suitable energy source for all sectors. Emissions associated with heavy industry, agriculture and transport have been difficult to abate because these sectors require the mobility and/or highly intense energy provided by transportable fuels. Low or zero emission fuels could meet these particular needs. Through collaborations within and beyond Sydney University, the NZI is researching low-cost pathways to zero emissions fuels such as green hydrogen.
The NZI’s research efforts to optimise renewable electricity networks and develop zero emissions fuels are focused on the following research pillars: