UNSW Sydney is pursuing new partnerships to realise the potential of smart cities and hybrid energy storage systems to power them.
In an announcement this week, UNSW detailed its involvement in developing Australia’s first large-scale hybrid energy storage system – using lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells – to be installed at a $200m solar farm to be built by Providence Asset Group and Risen Energy Group in south-east Queensland. The system will be designed to store surplus electricity generated at the farm and then discharge it when required.
Professor Dong and his team, together with researchers from UTS and with Providence Asset Group as lead applicant, was working on a solution that would use artificial intelligence to manage and smooth out the intermittency of renewable energy, balance out supply and demand, and allow the storage and use of excess renewable energy where and when needed.
UNSW Scientia Professor and renowned chemical engineer Professor Rose Amal said that hydrogen’s time had come.
“The Australian Renewable Energy Agency hydrogen could annual contribute $1.7 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2030, driven domestically and by demand for sustainable green hydrogen in Japan, South Korea, China and Europe,” Professor Amal said.
“Australia has plenty of sunshine and we lead the world in solar technology. The use of hydrogen technology to store renewable energy at this solar farm is just one opportunity for Australia in the global hydrogen market,” she said.
What’s more, Professor Amal said, Australia was well positioned to lead the world in hydrogen generation and transport. UNSW researchers, along with industry partners and other universities, were working to highlight the magnitude of this opportunity to capitalise on Australia’s strengths and not miss out on a lucrative opportunity for the country.
Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at UNSW, thanked the partners at the event: “UNSW Sydney is already a world leader in renewable energy research. But the challenge to efficiently, stably and affordably generate, store and distribute sustainable electric power for all Australians in future cannot be achieved without significant investment and the contributions of our partner organisations.
“I am very proud of UNSW’s involvement in these endeavours and extremely grateful to all involved.”
UNSW Sydney’s partners in the various initiatives mentioned in this story include Providence Asset Group, Powerlink Queensland, CSIRO, H2Store Pt Ltd, University of Technology Sydney, Risen Solar Technology, and Sungrow Power.