Our research

Targeted research yielding valuable outcomes

Our research is aimed at solving four challenges. The first is the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – emission avoidance. This can be realised by low or zero emission fuels. Examples are renewable electricity and green hydrogen. We are working to improve the efficiency of renewable energy generators and networks. We are also developing new, low-cost routes to green hydrogen and other industrial feedstocks derived from green hydrogen or renewable electricity.

Despite achieved and future advances in emissions avoidance, there will be some emissions sources that prove too hard or too costly to eliminate. Carbon removal addresses such emissions sources by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and thereby offsetting these emissions. Here at Sydney University, we are doing leading edge research looking at carbon removal using technologies ranging from molecular traps through to microorganisms in soil.

Finally, climate change introduces a new spectrum of risks in business planning processes. Collaborative research across the University is seeking to develop new techniques for interpreting the outcomes of climate modelling to yield information that can be used by decision makers.

The University of Sydney is recognised as a world leader in this space, with decades of excellence in research across energy, waste, circular economy, green materials and low-emissions technology.

Our research has underpinned new industries, companies, and technologies. Our researchers have launched highly successful ASX-listed companies and we have partnered with thousands of organisations and government departments globally. We educate industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and policymakers. We invest in state-of-the art facilities.

But new ways of thinking and collaborating are required in this decade, because of the urgent need for the swift and widespread commercialisation and adoption at scale of existing and emerging zero and low-emission technologies. The Net Zero Initiative is about accelerating the path to net zero through innovative partnerships for the benefit of all. We invite you to work with us.

Some of the activities of the NZI

  • We are helping create an emissions-free aviation sector through optimising fuel efficiencies, aircraft design, adoption of hydrogen fuel cells and the development of battery and hybrid engines.
  • With automotive manufacturers, we are developing new fuels and combustion processes to increase fuel efficiency and reduce vehicle emissions.
  • We are assisting the construction industry to create net zero buildings, as well as develop and integrate new materials – such as green steel and green concrete – that improve longevity, and reduce waste and the environmental impact of the construction industry.
  • Through the creation of digital twins of facilities, we are enabling manufacturing and construction organisations to iterate designs in real-time, improving efficiency, emissions and costs.
  • We combine state-of-the-art sensors, data processing and modelling to create digital twins of wind farms, enabling operators to optimise their performance in changing environmental conditions, extend their lifespan and increase the consistency of renewable energy generated.
  • We are working with industry across multiple sectors to develop next-generation batteries with greater storage capacity and a longer lifespan, reducing the environmental impact of battery technology while enabling the integration of batteries into multiple energy systems.
  • We are working with insurance companies to develop policies that will enable the emergence of a robust CO2 removal industry.
  • We are working with energy providers to develop technology that will enable sustainable carbon capture from the environment for safe storage through geosequestration.
  • We are working with multiple industry partners to recycle waste plastic into valuable new products throughout the domestic and international supply chains, without the need to retrofit existing manufacturing equipment.
  • We are working with government to create incentives for the uptake of low-emission technologies, products and services; carbon accounting systems to measure the impact of technology and infrastructure changes on emissions, and to navigate the impact of technologies across industry and society.
  • We are developing technology for the sustainable production of ammonia used in hospitals and water treatment plants.
  • We are developing nanomaterials to build the next generation of batteries, create stronger, more durable materials, and enable us to affordably retrofit our existing gas infrastructure so it can safely transport hydrogen.
  • We are working with young people to understand the impacts of climate anxiety and address the future mental health implications and infrastructure we will need to support them in a world with a changing climate.
  • We are educating the current and future workforce, and building strategic leadership capabilities and organisations to tackle this critical global challenge.

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