Future Fuels to ease Australia’s transition to low-carbon economy
UOW a partner in new $90 million national research centre
The University of Wollongong (UOW) has been announced as a research participant in a new national research centre to support the pivotal role fuels such as hydrogen and biogas will play in supplying Australia’s energy needs as it transitions to a low-carbon economy.
The Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) was announced today (Thursday 12 April) by Federal Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Senator the Hon Zed Seselja.
The Commonwealth is committing $26.25 million funding to the Centre over its proposed seven-year research program. The balance of the funding will come from Australia’s energy industry and the six participating universities (cash and in-kind support).
The Future Fuels CRC will undertake research and development to adapt existing gas infrastructure and equipment for the production, transport, storage and use of more sustainable “future fuels”, including hydrogen, biogas, and liquid derivatives like ammonia and methanol.
This will enable the Australian gas industry to provide a competitive, low-carbon energy alternative for residential, commercial, industrial and transport sectors to complement and support intermittent renewable electricity generation.
It is anticipated that these fuels will be able to both meet a significant proportion of national energy demand well into the future, as well as to generate export opportunities. Gas infrastructure can also increase the utilisation of renewable energy generation by storing clean gas manufactured during periods of surplus generation for later use.
Senior Professor Pascal Perez, Director of UOW’s Smart Infrastructure Facility and a world leader in infrastructure modelling, helped prepare the Future Fuels CRC bid and said the Centre would be pivotal to the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy networks.
“The CRC Future Fuels will play a key role in adapting existing infrastructure to Australia’s future energy needs, and how we can best transition to a low-carbon economy,” Professor Perez said.
Future Fuels CRC CEO David Norman thanked all those who had participated in the workshops, planning and project development to bring the organisation to this position.
“The CRC will enable industry to leverage Australia’s competitive advantages in renewable resources and its existing world-class gas industry and become a world innovator in low-carbon energy production, transportation and use,” he said.
Federal Assistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation Senator the Hon Zed Seselja with Future Fuels Cooperative Research Centre CEO David Norman at the co-funding announcement.
The Future Fuels CRC will conduct research across three integrated programs. The first will look into future fuels technologies, systems and markets, addressing technical, policy and commercial barriers to the increased use of future fuels and accelerating development of production technologies and end-use applications.
The second will address issues around safety and social acceptance of new fuels, so industry can more effectively design, build and operate projects needed to deliver Australia’s energy needs now and in the future.
The third will focus on the infrastructure itself, including the effect future fuels introduction will have on existing and new infrastructure. Research will address novel materials, design, installation, operations and maintenance, and re-purposing or decommissioning requirements.
These programs will be supported by an extensive education and training program. In addition to training up to 50 industry-ready PhDs, the CRC will deliver seminars, conferences and training for industry and the wider community. The Future Fuels CRC aspires to be at the centre of training for a whole new industry.
Six universities are collaborating on the Future Fuels CRC together with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), two state-based energy regulators, and more than 60 companies through industry associations.
Future Fuels CRC participants are: University of Wollongong, University of Adelaide, University of Queensland, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, RMIT University, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), Energy Safe Victoria, SA Department of Premier & Cabinet, Australian Pipelines & Gas Association Ltd (APGA), Energy Networks Australia Ltd (ENA), Gas Appliance Manufacturing Association Australia Ltd (GAMAA), Jemena Ltd, and Australian Gas Infrastructure Group (AGIG).