Mawson Lakes powers forward with renewable energy project

Mawson Lakes CampusUniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus will be transformed into a national testbed of renewable energy technologies with the construction of a $7.7m facility incorporating solar power, flow batteries, a hydrogen fuel cell stack and thermal energy storage. 

The State Government has given the project the green light today, providing $3.6m from its Renewable Energy Fund to help build the facility. 

When the project is completed by 2019, UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus will house one of the largest flow battery and hydrogen fuel cell systems of any university in Australia. 

It will also feature solar panels on 18 buildings at Mawson Lakes, one hectare of ground-mounted solar panels, and 3.2m litres of thermal energy storage. 

Project co-ordinator and a researcher in UniSA’s Research Node for Low Carbon Living, Dr Stephen Berry, says the facility will put UniSA on the global map when it comes to renewable technologies. 

“It will bring a host of new jobs and investment opportunities to the State as well as inspiring and developing the next generation of renewable energy professionals,” Dr Berry says. 

The proposed facility will increase the availability of zero carbon renewable energy, significantly ease pressure on the local electricity network and reduce the likelihood of power cuts to the campus, Dr Berry says. 

The project is at the forefront of UniSA’s strategy to reduce its carbon footprint and embrace renewable energy technologies, starting with its Mawson Lakes campus. 

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. 

Partnering with leading Australian renewable energy companies, UniSA expects the facility to provide more than 250 MWh of electrical storage annually, reducing the campus’s peak electrical load by 43 per cent, cutting its emissions by 35 per cent and making renewable energy available on demand. Annual energy savings are expected to be around $470,000. 

“We expect this project to lead to more educational, training and R&D opportunities with government and industry at Mawson Lakes, providing a holistic approach to cutting-edge sustainable technologies,” Dr Berry says. 

UniSA Vice Chancellor, Professor David Lloyd says the University is committed to embracing renewable energy technology and determined to lead by example. 

“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 Lloyd says. 

Additional notes for editors 

Also forming part of the project team are Professor Chris Saint, ITEE Dean of Research and Innovation and Carbon Neutral Campus Leader, and Professor Simon Beecham, ITEE Pro Vice-Chancellor. 

In 2016, UniSA was rated as the second most energy efficient university in Australia by the Tertiary Education Facilities Management Association (TEFMA) benchmarking calculator. 

For more information about the project contact Dr Stephen Berry on 0415 390 127 or stephen.berry@unisa.edu.au

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