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Technology

Saturday read: In conversation with UNSW’s Anna Bruce on distributed transformation

The time is now for the energy consumer, says Anna Bruce, as energy “prosumers” produce, consume, and provide electricity and grid services in previously unimagined ways. Bruce, a senior lecturer at the University of New South Wales’ School of Solar Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE), leads work on the role of distributed energy resources in the energy transition, analysing firsthand the dizzying level of complexity it brings.

Aussie startup invents breakthrough non-toxic battery electrolyte that’s cheaper ‘by factor of 100’

It’s a breakthrough so staggeringly simple the patent office needed convincing it counted as an invention. In what Professor Thomas Nann jokingly told pv magazine Australia basically equates to adding dishwashing liquid and oil to water, he and two of his former PhD students have unlocked the potential of water-based electrolytes for batteries, promising a solution that is cheaper, easier to manufacture and non-toxic. The startup plans to initially use the formula in supercapacitors before exploring it in conjunction with redox flow batteries.


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Coin-sized solar panels to protect koalas from bushfires

Solar panels the size of five cent pieces will be used to locate koalas and protect them from incoming bushfires as well as to care for the threatened species as their habitat regenerates.

Bushfire affected and rural Indigenous communities among 20 projects funded to explore microgrid solutions

The federal government has allocated $25.6 million to support 20 microgrid feasibility studies, including in communities affected by the Black Summer bushfires, which left regions without power for weeks.

Arc-shaped PV system for agrivoltaics from Germany

The PV mounting system was developed by Germany-based Goldbeck and will initially be available in the Netherlands from 2022. The company will test the new technology in a 45 MW PV project.

TransGrid on track with critical infrastructure upgrades

Transmission network operator TransGrid has confirmed works on two high priority electricity infrastructure projects which will allow for more renewable energy to be connected to the National Electricity Market have reached major milestones.

Multi-day iron-air batteries reach commercialization… at one tenth of the cost of lithium

Boston startup Form Energy has secured US$200 million (AU$270 million) Series D funding for the development of what is being called a breakthrough in energy storage.

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Wind and solar PV penetration rises to record levels in NEM

The evolution of Australia’s electricity grid continues at pace with the nation’s newest large-scale wind and solar projects helping produce a string of renewable energy production records in the National Electricity Market.

The sunlight that powers solar panels also damages them. ‘Gallium doping’ is providing a solution

Solar power is already the cheapest form of electricity generation, and its cost will continue to fall as more improvements emerge in the technology and its global production. Now, new research is exploring what could be another major turning point in solar cell manufacturing.

Australian Vanadium to fast-track manufacture of flow batteries

Western Australian company Australian Vanadium Limited has been awarded $3.69 million in federal government funding to fast-track manufacturing of large-scale vanadium redox flow battery systems that can be used to support rooftop solar PV or in off-grid settings such as mining, agriculture and remote communities.

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