Delivering research leadership on the transition to net zero emissions

The University of Sydney’s Net Zero Initiative (NZI) is an ambitious, multi-disciplinary collaboration committed to achieving a world with net zero emissions. Our researchers are world leading experts in fields of engineering, science, urban planning, renewables, policy, carbon accounting, and behavioural science. Together we aim to reduce emissions by developing reliable, low-cost renewable energy sources and reducing the demand for traditional fossil fuels. We are also developing methods and technologies that will enable the capture, storage and commercial use of atmospheric carbon. Meanwhile, we are working with businesses, investors and governments to develop tools that will help them anticipate and mitigate future risks associated with climate change.

Discover how we’re already making an impact by exploring some of our net zero research projects.

Delivering the detail to drive impact

The global race to make affordable, sustainable hydrogen is so highly competitive, every advantage counts.

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Partnering with Australian companies to create clean hydrogen

The global hydrogen market is set to almost triple in value to US$300 billion in 2027, however the market is shifting to green hydrogen production. Since 2017, our researchers have partnered with Perth-based Hazer to commercialise the breakthrough green hydrogen research – the ‘Hazer Process’ – to the global market. The commercialisation of the Hazer Process will give Australia’s clean energy industry a clear competitive advantage and offer valuable alternatives to the export of raw primary commodities. On a global scale it has the potential to lower the costs and increase the availability of clean energy supply worldwide.

Creating renewable ammonia to transform the agricultural sector

Ammonia is one of the world’s most important chemicals that supports global food supply. It is used primarily in the production of fertiliser, enabling better agricultural productivity. However, the production of ammonia is very energy intensive, contributing 1.4% of total global CO2 emissions.

We have worked with partners to create a new technique for producing ammonia using only air, water and renewable energy sources such as solar. While in its early stages, this technique not only has the potential to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of fertilisers, it could also impact other sectors reliant on ammonia for cleaning or water treatment.

Leading the global fight to capture and sequester CO2 from the atmosphere

Emissions reductions will not be enough to avoid dangerous levels of global warming, and the world must actively remove historical carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere through processes described as Negative Emissions Technologies such as Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology. In partnership with Southern Green Gas (SGG), Swiss Re and Corporate Carbon Advisory, our researchers are developing Metal-Organic Framework materials for highly selective carbon dioxide removal from air. SGG’s modular system is fully powered by renewable solar energy and can sustainably scale to reach gigatonne carbon dioxide removal.

Creating sustainable and net zero buildings

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.

Our multi-disciplinary research teams functionalise building envelopes through integration of nanotechnology, utilise smart nanosensors and filters for an improved indoor environment experience and leverage innovation of the nanoscale to increase the building energy efficiency as well to reduce construction cost and enable circular constructions.

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