Australian Government backing of $30 million has paved the way for the University of Newcastle to open a world-class energy research facility on a scale unmatched by any university in the country.
Located on the former BHP Billiton Newcastle Technology Centre site, research through the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) will address national priorities in sustainability and energy.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nicholas Saunders, said NIER would result in a quantum leap in the University's energy and resources research.
"The University is a leader in energy and resources research. NIER will further advance our work in clean energy production, energy efficiency and the minimization of carbon emissions."
Bringing together 300 energy and resource research staff, NIER's research program will include:
- reduction of energy (and water) consumption in industries of national significance
- reduced carbon emissions through next-generation Carbon Capture and Storage technologies
- alternative energy sources, including geothermal and polymer solar cells
- improved efficiency in power generation
- smarter and more efficient grids for distributed electricity generation.
NIER will be housed in a world-class research facility comprising extensive mineral, chemical and related technical laboratories, workshops, offices and five industrial-scale pilot plant workshops.
"The pilot plant is recognised as the most advanced materials and minerals processing facility in Australia," Professor Saunders said.
"NIER will bring together current University research groups, including three Priority Research Centres (Advanced Particle Processing, Energy, and Organic Electronics), in a unique environment that will allow translation of research projects from bench-top through to industrial-scale pilot-plant demonstrations."
Through NIER, the University will collaborate with several partners, including AmpControl, BHP-Billiton, CSIRO, Doyles Creek Mining, EnergyAustralia, Industry and Investment NSW, Laing O'Rourke, TUNRA Bulk Solids, the University of NSW and the University of Wollongong.
The $40 million project comprises of $30 million from the Australian Government Education Investment Fund and $10 million from the University.
"The University particularly thanks Sharon Grierson MP and Joel Fitzgibbon MP, and the NSW Government, for their support in the establishment of NIER," Professor Saunders said.