University of South Australia's (UniSA) Renewable Energy Testbed

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“South Australia is already leading the world in the transition to renewable energy. This project will enhance that reputation and also show other organisations how they can move towards energy independence and contribute to a carbon neutral future.” Professor David Lloyd, UniSA Vice Chancellor

UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus will be transformed into a national testbed of renewable energy technologies through an $8.7 million project to incorporate solar power, flow batteries, a hydrogen fuel cell stack and thermal energy storage.

The project – supported by a $3.6 million grant from the South Australian Government – aims to produce data to support multi-disciplinary research projects (such as optimising performance, economics, and energy and emissions) in hydrogen, battery storage and solar technologies. Energy produced will supplement campus needs especially at periods of peak demand.

The project is at the forefront of UniSA’s strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and embrace renewable energy technologies. The campus underlined its green credentials in 2015, launching the Research Node for Low Carbon Living, the State’s premier hub for multidisciplinary, industry-driven research, exploring low carbon solutions.The facility will feature solar panels on 18 buildings at Mawson Lakes, one hectare of ground-mounted solar panels, and thermal energy storage. Once completed in 2020, it will increase the availability of carbon-free renewable energy, reducing pressure on the local electricity network.

By partnering with Australian renewable energy companies, UniSA expects the facility to provide more than 250 MWh of electrical storage annually, reducing the peak electrical load by 43 per cent, cutting its emissions by 35 per cent and making renewable energy available on demand.

UniSA expects the project to achieve annual energy savings of about $470,000.