Unlocking a clean energy future
Researchers from the UTS Institute of Sustainable Future and Shanghai University are collaborating to improve the efficiency of electric power grid networks.
Dr Fei Wang from Shanghai University and Dr Geoff James from the UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures (ISF), have joined forces to share insights from their separate multi-year research projects into renewable energy technology.
Wang and his associates at Shanghai University are developing power conversion technologies capable of improving the efficiency and sustainability of renewable energy sources.
James’ team at ISF are measuring the impact of such technologies and their ability to improve the reliability and stability of the electricity grid.
“We work at different levels of the systems, and that’s why the partnership can be quite strong,” says James. “The cross over in our research is how to enable the benefits of Fei’s technology.”
Wang’s power conversion technology reduces waste in households, buildings and transport by converting excess energy back into the power grid. His current research project is funded by National Natural Science Foundation of China.
James hopes to contribute insights from ISF’s research project, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, to help Fei align his technology innovations with consumer expectations.
“We want to ask, what is the customer benefit? What's driving the economics? Is the technology affordable yet? What needs to be done to make it affordable?” said James.
According to Wang, future innovations in renewable energy will be driven by improvements in consumer outcomes.
“I think the problem is not how much energy we consume. The problem is how we can manipulate the energy strategy so that energy can be used more efficiently,” says Wang.
“Renewables are not just a climate focused imperative. There’s also technology, innovations and potential economic savings. The drive towards renewables is always coming from a consumer’s point of view that it’s more flexible, potentially cheaper and there might be potential innovations in the way that you drive your car or ride your bike,” said Wang.
For the future, the two academics aim to finish writing their joint-papers and apply for more research funding. Additionally, they are discussing an exchange program and the co-supervision of students from Shanghai University to be involved in multi-disciplinary projects at ISF.