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Monash University seeks to work in partnership with industry to answer the challenges facing the energy sector. Companies can engage with Monash through a range of mechanisms.
Specific contract research
Monash’s Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Group can assist organisations interested in arranging research contracts with Monash University. Our team of Business Development Managers will work with you to understand the challenge and put together a research team to manage the contract and ongoing relationship.
Monash Consulting Services (MCS) connects companies to internationally respected experts in a diverse range of fields including science, engineering, health sciences, economics, sustainability and education. Additionally, MCS can arrange access to an integrated network of world-class technology
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Renewable energy pg 2 Clean energy pg 4 Energy storage pg 6 Energy markets and systems pg 8 Centres for research excellence back pg Contact information back pg
Energy resourcing challenges
Energy in the form of electricity, natural gas, petroleum and heat is the lifeblood of the modern industrialised world. The world is entering a new phase of energy transformation driven by the challenges of increasing energy production costs, depleting fossil fuel resources and greenhouse gas induced climate change. Another set of challenges has emerged in the form of
deregulated and privatised electricity systems. The cost of operating and maintaining electricity transmission and distribution networks has risen dramatically, leading to a steady decline in the overall productivity of the sector. The new economic structure of the energy system has also created a further challenge; how to efficiently deploy new technologies when governments have little or no direct control over investors or asset operators.
Image: The Monash Wind Tunnel, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, is used by industry to optimise aerodynamic performance. See page 2.
platforms suitable for a wide range of cutting edge technology applications including: materials analysis, manufacturing optimisation, nanotechnology, aerodynamic analysis, advanced imaging and biological analysis. MCS simplifies the process of companies engaging with Monash by locating required expertise, managing all contractual negotiations and administrative details in respect of consulting.
Collaboration through leveraging government funding
The Australian Government has a range of funding programs, such as the Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Scheme, to foster and Support collaborative research and development between university researchers and external partner organisations. These programs are a costeffective way of engaging in research with Monash University for organisations with research-related challenges and opportunities.
Monash has a portfolio of intellectual property available for licensing to companies. Monash is recognised for its success in developing new products and services with commercial partners.
John Monash Innovation Institute
The John Monash Innovation Institute provides a platform for collaboration under an open innovation model where companies can reduce their financial and technical risk by cooperating with research organisations on solutions for commercial problems. The assistance includes one day management and skills development seminars to enable companies to adopt and sustain a culture of innovation.
Challenges for energy research: n Depleting natural energy resources n Deregulated and privatised electricity systems n Ability to deploy new technologies n The need to combat climate change
These technological, scientific and economic challenges are not small. Australia and the world urgently need deeply researched and tested solutions. Monash, in partnership with industry, is well placed to make an impact in many of these areas.
Responding to the challenges around energy consumption is a key research priority for Monash University. Our research into possible solutions to the issues facing energy resourcing is grouped into four themes:
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Who we are
Monash University is a global leader in innovative, multidisciplinary research. Ranked in the top 100* universities in the world, Monash is Australia’s largest university. Monash’s six Australian campuses are complemented by a strong and expanding international presence in Italy, India, Malaysia, South Africa and China and a recently established alliance with Warwick University in the United Kingdom.
* Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012
Renewable energy Cleaner energy Energy storage Energy markets and systems
Monash researchers are working to improve the efficiency of renewable energy sources to make them a more viable alternative to electricity and petroleum.
Organic solar cells
Advantages over silicon solar cells:
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The Monash Wind Tunnel, the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, is used by industry to optimise aerodynamic performance in a range of applications including:
Monash’s program in biofuels/ bioenergy embraces a number of feed stocks and processing methods that focus on second generation biofuels based in algae and biomass as feed stocks. Biofuels offer:
turbine aerodynamics and wind turbine siting transportation aerodynamics (trains and trucks) aerodynamic research
Areas of expertise include:
potential to supply a significant part of the world’s future transport fuel needs to the price and supply problems and carbon emissions associated with crude oil derived fuels
Low cost Adaptable to non-flat surfaces Printable in manufacturing
the fracture properties of rocks to maximise the recovery of heat from underground and modelling of basins
n Fundamental n Improving
the performance of Australian wind farms
of the flow and fracture properties of rocks geothermal energy production
Monash Solar Cell Group
Monash researchers are leading world class research that will revolutionise the way solar power is produced. In collaboration with the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium, Professor Yi-Bing Cheng, Associate Professor Udo Bach and Professor Leone Spiccia, are developing flexible, cost effective printable plastic solar cells that can be produced in the same way that Australia’s plastic banknotes are printed. These light weight dyesensitized solar cells (DSCs) are recognised as the most significant alternative photovoltaic technology to silicon solar cells because they are cheaper to produce. The team is researching a range of techniques to boost power conversion. Its vision is to make photovoltaic technology the power of the future by making it efficient and cheaper to produce than mains power. Udo pioneered the technique of stacking solar cells in tandem to boost energy conversion. Udo is also developing back-contact solar cells. This technique involves removing the collecting electrode from the top of cells and linking the previously separated positive and negative charge collectors at the back of the cell, ending a problem of shading techniques to dramatically boost the output of organic solar cells.
Solar cells Professor Yi-Bing Cheng Yi-Bing’s research includes nanostructured titanium dioxide based dye sensitised cells and ceramic materials and composites.
Wind energy Professor John Sheridan John’s research into fluid mechanics will help to reduce fuel consumption and carbon emissions.
Biofuels Dr Akshat Tanksale Akshat is working in the field of catalysis based on nanomaterials, for the production of biofuels and green chemicals.
Biofuels Professor Gil Garnier Gil leads the Bio-resource Processing Research Institute of Australia, which will develop new products and processes from bio-based feedstocks.
(From left) Associate Professor Udo Bach, Professor Yi-Bing Cheng and Professor Leone Spiccia. Photo by: Eamon Gallagher
Smart grids, when fully deployed, will allow more efficient operation of the electricity system and increased uptake of renewable electricity sources such as wind and solar. Monash researchers are developing information and communication technologies to enable the smart-grid and are investigating economic regulation proposals that will maximise their benefit to the consumer. Research includes:
n Mobile n Using
Researchers at Monash have been investigating CO2 storage opportunities over the last eight years. The aim is to provide a technical demonstration of deep geological CO2 sequestration systems. Their vision is for a future where deep geological CO2 sequestration systems provide an immediate and affordable option for controlling the impacts of global warming.
Research projects include:
drying – the first step in utilisation of high moisture coals Coal gasification – current projects include: fundamental and practical scale experimental work on entrained flow gasification, complemented by modelling, aimed at commercial application for power generation and chemical production combustion – an innovative way of producing a concentrated stream of carbon dioxide using both conventional pulverised fuel and fluidised bed combustion modes, through the precombustion separation of nitrogen from oxygen in normal air
looping combustion – another new generation technology for easier capture of carbon dioxide and production of hydrogen at the same time uel cell application – F a current project involving evaluation of brown coal derived carbon for use in the direct carbon fuel cell oal to liquids – potential C exists for projects on direct liquefaction, gasification and Fischer-Tropsch type processes to produce liquid fuels and chemicals. Current projects include catalytic synthesis of coal gas to liquid transportation fuel
Low emission coal technologies
Monash is exploring how cleaner energy can be produced from Victoria’s vast brown coal reserves. CO2 emissions could be potentially reduced to near zero through pioneering technologies like carbon storage and geosequestration.
sensing technology to enable smart grids wireless technologies to monitor underground cables the change in consumer energy consumption
Low emission coal technology Associate Professor Sankar Bhattacharya Sankar’s research includes advanced coal and biomass utilization for fuel cell, power and fuel and chemicals through gasification and combustion, and biofuels including algae. Brown coal Professor Alan Chaffee Alan is researching new more efficient uses for brown coal, including coal conversion to chemicals and other products. He is also developing improved approaches for carbon dioxide capture and utilisation. Geothermal energy Associate Professor, Ranjith Pathegama Gamage Ranjith’s expertise is in carbon sequestration and geothermal energy. Energy markets and smart grids Dr Ariel Liebman Ariel specialises in modelling and simulation of electricity markets using high performance computing platforms. He is leading Monash research into Smart Grids.
Polymer and polymer composite membranes are being developed for clean energy and environmental applications including gas separation and fuel cells.
Enhancing geothermal energy Enhanced geothermal energy and underground energy storage offer exciting alternatives for addition of renewable energy. However, development of these new energy options requires greater understanding of the technical engineering challenges they pose. The insulated rock sequences used to provide or store heat energy are crystalline and do not allow free flow of heat carrying/storing fluids. Development of methods to enhance fluid flow within a closed volume in crystalline rock will be critical to success of the technology.
Associate Professor Ranjith Pathegama, is leading Australian research to address these challenges. By performing experimental and numerical simulation of the reservoir enhancement process, researchers have been able to better understand crystalline rock response under the expected pressure and temperature conditions. The results will be used to inform development of new energy alternatives integral to efforts to curb human-induced climate change. Australia’s peak research body, The Australian Research Council (ARC) funded Monash University the largest share of the ARC Linkage
Monash is working to make electricity usage more efficient by researching:
Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities funding in 2011. Monash was awarded $940,000 towards producing a $1.9M large-scale (1m3) reactor to experimentally simulate enhanced geothermal energy and underground energy storage. Monash has also commenced design and construction on two advanced devices capable of simulating rock fracture and flow at temperatures up to 400ºC and depths up to 8km. These devices will extend existing laboratory simulation to allow the full suite of rock fracture and flow behaviour to be studied on a larger-scale than was previously possible.
harmonics and their
Power system reliability voltage-insulation condition monitoring Power electronic converters Energy storage systems
n High n n
Global warming represents one of the biggest environmental challenges facing humanity in the modern age. Monash researchers are investigating pioneering technologies such as carbon capture and geosequestration as possible strategies for tackling global warming.
Membranes Professor Huanting Wang, and Associate Professor Bradley Ladewig These researchers are experts in development of membranes which have a wide range of applications, including clean energy.
Highly efficient energy harvesting and storage systems are being developed by Monash University’s energy research program as a strategy to help control the impact of global warming.
Researchers at The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science have developed a range of improved electromaterials to apply in energy harvesting systems and highly efficient energy storage. The program also looks to improve battery and super capacitor electrodes and electrolytes to make lightweight batteries and electronic textiles.
Ionic liquids Group
Monash’s Ionic Liquids Group investigates the preparation and characterisation of ionic liquids and other types of ionic materials for a range of applications including:
n Electrochemistry n Green n Solar
A variety of chemically converted graphenes (CCGs) are being investigated for use in batteries, solar cells, fuel cells and superconductors. The integration of CCGs with other materials also holds great promise for energy devices, particularly where flexibility is required.
Professor Dan Li Dan’s research group has received world-wide recognition for developing ways to process and assemble graphene into useful macrostructures to address global challenges related to green energy, water purification, health care and environmental protection. Dan’s group invented and patented a cost-effective method for producing graphene aqueous solutions from mineral graphene. This breakthrough was featured in the world-leading journal Nature Nanotechnology and also earned Dan the Scopus Young Researcher of the Year Award in 2010. The team has also invented two innovative bio-inspired approaches to engineer graphene films and foams, which has led to the creation
of the world’s stiffest hydrogel and the most lightweight yet resilient and elastomeric material. Dan is most excited about the potential of graphene for energy storage. He thinks graphene could offer a cost-effective alternative for storing renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, on a large scale. Based on their innovative graphene-based materials, his group has invented several new concepts for their use in energy storage devices that can deliver record-high energy and power density. “We’ve discovered that we can stack graphene with more space in between. That’s why we can use it to store a lot of energy,” Dan says. “Compared to conventional batteries, our graphene-based energy storage devices can be charged very quickly. You could charge a mobile phone in a few seconds or less.”
Graphene Professor Dan Li Dan’s research into graphene based materials is helping to address global challenges by providing a cost-effective alternative for storing renewable energy.
Energy harvesting Professor Douglas McFarlane Doug is the leader of the Energy Program in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials. He is leading work into ionic liquids for a range of applications in electrochemistry, green chemistry, solar cells and batteries. He has been named the 2012 Australian Laureate Fellow.
Using world-leading high performance computing tools, Monash researchers are helping to address key policy and market problems.
These challenges range from the forecasting of peak demand, a key input into energy system investment planning, through to
developing regulations and policies needed to ensure the system is managed and developed as efficiently as possible.
energy mark and systems
Grid and cloud computing
Modelling investment in transmission lines and deployment of new power generation sources into the grid is already an intensive task. In order to deploy sufficient renewable energy resources to meet emission reduction targets the models required are now even more resource hungry. Tools are being developed at Monash to offer industry the ability to:
large numbers of these scenarios at the same time on grid and cloud computing infrastructure on Monash’s eResearch resources economically optimal deployment strategies and trade-offs between geographical locations and investment in transmission infrastructure tradeoffs between electricity transmission and gas pipeline infrastructure
Carbon price forecasting
Carbon prices critically depend on the mix of technologies used in energy production and on the future costs of low emission technologies. Our researchers are developing models that:
Modelling of carbon price
Models used to forecast carbon price can also forecast the future impacts of different carbon prices on electricity wholesale prices and retail prices by taking into account:
n The n The
manage the proliferation of input scenarios and combinations of assumptions
the impacts of various emission reduction trajectories on future carbon prices by incorporating energy market models developed in collaboration with industry the impacts of changes in future prices of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas of closure of high emitting generators
running costs of existing power stations current and future costs of coal, natural gas and other fossil fuels wholesale market competition behaviour and merit order of dispatch effects system resistive losses and constraints. and distribution tariffs
Monash researchers are working with the Australian power industry and other universities to make these tools available to meet the constantly growing needs of policy makers and other stakeholders.
n Transmission n Transmission
Carbon pricing Gujji Muthuswamy Gujji has 30 years experience in energy trading risk management and retail and distribution pricing. He runs a course on carbon pricing for the Faculty of Business and Economics. Regulation of competitive energy markets Professor Stephen King Stephen is an expert in electricity regulation and provides advice to regulators and electricity companies. Greenhouse issues Professor Philip Adams Philip has contributed to a wide range of greenhouse policy discussions in Australia and overseas. He has completed model development projects for the Garnaut Climate Change Review and the Federal Treasury. Energy markets and smart grids Dr Ariel Liebman Ariel specialises in modelling and simulation of electricity markets using high performance computing platforms. He is leading Monash research into Smart Grids.
Centres of Research Excellence
Monash Sustainability Institute
www.monash.edu/ sustainability-institute Professor Dave Griggs The Monash Sustainability Institute (MSI) is a multidisciplinary, cross-faculty institute that coordinates Monash research initiatives into climate change and sustainability. MSI is also able to support external stakeholders in undertaking sustainability research through:
Centre for Power Transformer Monitoring and Life Extension
Dr Daniel Martin The Centre is a joint venture between Monash University and the electricity utilities industry specialising in monitoring, diagnostics and life management research for electrical power equipment. The Centre facilitates applied research for oil-immersed transformers, as well as testing and assessing new monitoring and diagnostic technologies, performed independently for the benefit of both manufacturers and users.
and applying research findings that promote individual and organisational uptake and build the capacity of the organisation’s partners
The Centre of Policy Studies
www.buseco.monash.edu/cops Director, Professor Philip Adams The Centre of Policy Studies (COPS) is the leading economic modelling group in Australia. COPS has been modelling sustainability and environmental issues for the Australian Federal Government since the 1990’s. Energy related studies include:
BehaviourWorks www.climateworksaustralia.org Australia Climate Works Australia
Professor Dave Griggs ClimateWorks Australia is an independent non-profit organisation whose mission is to facilitate substantial emissions reductions in the next five years in Australia by working with government, business, industry groups and the community. Dr Liam Smith BehaviourWorks Australia is concerned with the behaviours in society that have triggered the environmental challenges we are facing. The Centre’s core activities involve:
on the economics of biofuels for the United States International Trades Commission for the World Bank on climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries
facilitating and coordinating multidisciplinary research teams research projects, research centres and ongoing collaborations.
Key initiatives include; the Low Carbon Growth Plan for n Developing collaborative Australia to reduce green house relationships with a host of gas emissions and Climate industry and institutional Watch – an interactive online partners to pursue behaviour project enabling people to change research observe and record the impact n Contributing to sustainable of climate change on the behaviour change policy and environment. campaigns
learning from a range of behaviour change disciplines and practices
Green Chemical Futures Monash and the Federal Government are funding a new $78 million purpose-built research centre at Clayton as part of the Green Chemical Futures initiative led by Milton Hearn. The new facility will create new opportunities for research, training and collaboration and improve the capacity of the Australian chemical industry to respond to the challenges of the future.
CRICOS provider: Monash University 00008C
Industry Engagement and Commercialisation Dr Heather St John, Director Industry Engagement Tel: +61 3 9902 9854 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: monash.edu/industry
All information contained in this document is current at time of publication. Monash University reserves the right to alter this information at any time – please check the Monash University website for updates (www.monash.edu.au). Published October 2012.
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