+ OzTrekk Educational Services Home
 
 

Posts Tagged ‘clean energy’

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

Monash to become first 100 percent renewable energy powered university in Australia

By the year 2030, Monash University expects all of the energy used on its campuses will be clean and renewable.

Monash to become Australia's first 100 per cent renewable energy powered university

Solar panels at Clayton campus (Photo: Monash University)

The university is investing $135 million to achieve its aim with a project called Net Zero.

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Margaret Gardner AO, said the Net Zero initiative was the most ambitious project of its kind undertaken by an Australian university.

“Leadership in sustainability, of the kind to which Monash aspires requires much more than being carbon neutral by offsetting emissions through carbon credits or similar mechanisms. The university strives to completely eliminate its dependence on fossil fuels,” Professor Gardner said.

“Monash is actively reducing its emissions and, by transforming our energy infrastructure and following a deep decarbonisation strategy, ensuring that all the energy we use on our campuses is clean.”

As well as committing to net zero carbon emissions from their Australian campuses, all of Monash’s operations will also be carbon neutral by 2030.

Residual emissions from operations—such as plane travel—will be offset by purchasing certified and socially conscious carbon offset programs.

“Clean affordable and reliable energy is something that we all want. This target is about putting our world-leading research and campuses to work to show that a 100-percent renewable future is not only possible, but good for business and the planet too,” said Monash Engineering and Sustainability Manager Dr Rob Brimblecombe.

Net Zero is not an overnight revolution. Monash has been greening itself for some time, beginning in 2005 when the university began measuring its performance in emissions, energy use, waste, water and transport. It then set an energy reduction target of 20 percent based on those early measurements.

In 2010 the first solar panels went in on each campus.

Now there are more than 4,000 panels in place, enough to power 100 average Australian households.

Building is now underway at the Clayton campus for an on-site microgrid that will help the university control when and how energy is used.

The Monash microgrid will be connected to the Victorian energy grid, which in the future can reduce the demand and strain on the network during peak times.

The state government, through the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), contributed $100,000 seed funding for the Monash Microgrid.

The Net Zero Initiative is set to directly benefit research at the university, which is building the microgrid to model and assess the performance of energy network systems.

“The Monash Microgrid will provide a real-world example demonstrating how communities can keep their energy system affordable and resilient, in particular during peak periods and extreme weather events,” said Director of the Monash Energy Materials and Systems Institute, Dr Jacek Jasieniak.

“We’re using our campuses and research to develop scalable clean energy solutions that can be tested here and deployed around the world,” Dr Jasieniak said.

By the end of 2020, the university will complete its biggest solar roll out. By then, it will be generating 7 GWh of energy, the equivalent of powering 1,000 homes in Victoria for a year.

The project supports the concept of Monash as a living lab, with research and teaching linked to operational sustainability.

Monash University is also eliminating gas and moving to 100 percent electricity.

“By 2030 all of our energy consumption will be electric and from renewable sources,” Professor Gardner said.

The university is also reducing the overall energy consumption of their operations. This includes updating all of their campus lighting to LED, ensuring sustainability certification of all new buildings, and only investing in appliances and equipment that are energy efficient.

Monash University is asking

  • How do you make Australia’s economy carbon neutral?
  • How do we solve the water crisis?
  • What does a sustainable city look like?

While the researchers, educators, partners and funders may speak different “languages” (science, the arts, engineering and policy for example) they are working together to achieve a common purpose.

The Monash Sustainability Institute programs and initiatives investigate how to build water-sensitive cities and better manage water resources. They are catalysing action across Australia’s economy to reduce greenhouse emissions and valuing and integrating indigenous knowledge to help manage natural resources, putting environmental sustainability at the centre of decision making. Monash is understanding and influencing human behaviour, training and educating the next generation of leaders in sustainability, and much more.

Apply to a Monash Environmental Sciences Program!

*

Would you like to study sustainability? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Heather Brown at heather@oztrekk.com for more information.

Monday, April 25th, 2016

UQ sparks electric vehicle revolution

The University of Queensland is embracing the future of sustainable transport, installing four solar-powered electric vehicle chargers at its St Lucia and Gatton campuses.

UQ sparks electric vehicle revolution

Car at the Veefil DC fast charger (Photo credit: UQ)

The chargers are the first solar-powered fast-charging infrastructure to be built in Queensland, and are available for free use by the public as well as staff and students.

UQ Chief Operating Officer Mr Greg Pringle said UQ was helping lead the charge for widespread use of electric vehicles.

“UQ is committed to creating a more sustainable future, and we see the installation of this infrastructure as a real milestone for the development of sustainable transport in Queensland,” he said.

“We hope the chargers will motivate staff, students and the wider public to consider the many benefits of electric vehicle travel.

“They’re powered by UQ’s solar arrays, meaning that when the sun is shining, charging is emissions-free.”

Each campus has one Veefil DC fast charger, which can charge fully electric vehicles or compatible plug-in hybrid vehicles, and one Tesla Destination Charger designed for use with Tesla vehicles.

Mr Pringle said Veefil chargers were designed and built in Brisbane by Tritium, a leading clean tech company founded by UQ graduates Dr Paul Sernia, Dr David Finn and Mr James Kennedy, who began working together on the UQ solar racing team in 1998.

“UQ is delighted to host the chargers, playing our part in the positive change these graduates are creating,” he said.

Tritium CEO Dr Finn said he was excited to be working with UQ to help kick-start the electric vehicle revolution in Queensland.

“The Veefil charger at Gatton is a first for Queensland as it allows easy inter-city electric vehicle travel between Brisbane and Toowoomba,” he said.

“We’ve installed hundreds of our chargers in North America and in other parts of the world, but it is great to see more going in where it all began.”

The Veefil chargers can provide a range of up to 70 kilometres for every 15 minutes of charging – about 10-times faster than traditional charging options.

*

Would you like information about sustainability and other environmental sciences programs available at UQ? Contact OzTREKK Australian Environmental Sciences Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

UQ solar milestone

The University of Queensland has slashed grid electricity use at its Gatton campus by 40 per cent since bringing Australia’s largest solar research facility on line a year ago.

UQ’s Manager of Energy and Sustainability, Andrew Wilson, said the 3.275 megawatt facility generated more than 5.8 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy since installation in March last year.

Sydney Dental School

Solar research facility at UQ’s Gatton campus (Photo: UQ)

“This is equivalent to the annual electricity usage of more than 1,000 average Queensland households, and the displacement of more than 5,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions,” Mr Wilson said.

“We’ve seen the net electricity consumption from the grid of the Gatton campus reduce by almost 40 per cent as a result.

“This is achieved by exporting energy back to the grid when the campus’ consumption is lower than the energy generated by the array, typically during the middle of the day,” Mr Wilson said.

Director of Clean Energy at UQ’s Global Change Institute (GCI), Professor Paul Meredith, said the environment was not the only beneficiary as the solar farm had saved UQ more than half a million dollars in electricity costs so far.

“These savings are being invested back into research programs at the university, helping to solve the complex challenges of transforming the way we produce energy,” Professor Meredith said.

“The full-scale research we’re able to conduct with the Gatton facility is helping us to better understand how clean energy options like photovoltaics fit into our state and national electricity mix, from both an engineering and economic perspective.”

Mr Wilson said the first year of operation for the plant hadn’t been without its challenges.

“The cost of maintaining the grass at the 10-hectare site was higher than we anticipated.

“We will soon arrange for sheep to graze between the rows and keep the grass manageable,” Mr Wilson said.

In addition to reducing ongoing operational costs this initiative will increase the available land on campus for agricultural research.

Real-time and historical information on the Gatton Solar Research Facility and all of UQ’s solar arrays can be viewed on the UQ Solar website. (www.uq.edu.au/solarenergy)

*

Learn more about sustainability and other environmental science programs available at the University of Queensland. Contact OzTREKK Admissions Officer Shannon Tilston at shannon@oztrekk.com.