At the end of November 2017, CENELEST’s first workshop on research strategy was held at the University of New South Wales. Participants from other UNSW departments such as Chemical Engineering (Prof. Jie Bao), Electrical Engineering (Prof. John Fletcher), Weather Forecast (Dr. Merlinde Kay) and Power Energy Systems (Dr. Mihai Ciobotaru) as well as Prof. Vassallo from Sustainable Energy Development at the University of Sydney were invited to the one-day meeting.
In addition to the presentation of CENELEST’s planned activities, presentations and discussions were held by all participants on the topic of renewable energies and energy storage. The aim was to identify possible synergies and cooperation opportunities with other departments and to develop a strategy based on relevant challenges, which topics are currently most relevant in terms of energy storage and how they can be addressed. All participants agreed that the topic of energy storage should be dealt with in an interdisciplinary manner and that a more regular exchange of ideas should take place in the future. Regarding the research strategy of CENELEST, starting from the discussions, topics for the year 2018 were formulated and a strategy was developed to implement them.
UNSW and Europe’s largest research institution, Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for its Institute for Chemical Technology (Fraunhofer ICT), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish The German-Australian Centre for Electrochemical Technologies for the Storage of Renewable Energy in Sydney.
The agreement, valued at approximately $2 million over five years, will enable the University and Fraunhofer ICT to work together on research work focusing on electrochemical energy storage systems for renewable energy, as well as establishing a joint research presence in Australia. With the constantly increasing proportion of renewal energy sources in the electricity grid, energy storage systems are becoming more and more important. Up until now, only a small number of energy storage technologies, particularly those for electricity, have been able to satisfy the requirements for practical and cost-effective energy storage devices. The agreement was signed by Fraunhofer’s Head Multinational Networking, Dr. Eckart Bierdümpel and UNSW’s Dean of Engineering, Professor Mark Hoffman, at UNSW Sydney. Welcoming the initiative, Professor Hoffman said: “This agreement will facilitate collaboration between UNSW, Fraunhofer ICT researchers and energy technology-related companies to enable the development of new concepts that have the potential for commercialisation. “This collaboration also aligns to UNSW’s research strength in the area of alternative energies and fuels. The formulation of reliable large-scale energy storage technologies is of significant importance internationally.” Dr. Bierdümpel said: “With our joint German-Australian Centre for Electrochemical Technologies we have formed a strong alliance between the world leading partners in basic and applied research in this field, creating a unique and strategic partnership.” Both UNSW Sydney and Fraunhofer ICT are world-class research institutions, providing a strong supportive research environment, with an excellent international reputation.
At the beginning of December 2017, scientists from CENELEST met with Prof. Toni Vassallo and Prof. Thomas Maschmeyer at the University of Sydney for an exchange on the respective activities related to stationary energy storage.
In addition to CENELEST’s activities, results were discussed regarding the development of zinc/bromine redox flow and yellow-based zinc/bromine batteries. All those involved agreed to a closer exchange of ideas in the future and, if necessary, to jointly acquire industrial and publicly funded research.