Like a flight simulator for power system designers, the Hitachi ABB facility is now in the hands of the Northern Territory’s Charles Darwin University where it will help build knowledge and capability on the Territory’s road to 50% renewable electricity by 2030.
Researchers from Swinburne University and China’s Shaanxi Normal University have managed to develop a novel catalyst for highly efficient production of green hydrogen from seawater via solar. This catalyst, which required researchers to invent a prototype device called a ‘Ocean-H2-Rig’, highlights the potential of this technology and that we are only just now starting to scratch the surface.
Australian researchers have analysed different ways to improve the efficiency of PV-powered water electrolysis for hydrogen generation. They include the use of magnetic fields, light energy, ultrasonic fields, and pulsating electric fields. Energy costs remain prohibitive, but molecular movement and the redistribution of molecules in water during electrolysis could open a path to viability.
Chemical engineers at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney have made a significant technological breakthrough in the development of green ammonia. The breakthrough could not only alter the global ammonia industry, but more easily use solar to produce green ammonia for export to countries like Japan and Germany instead of straight hydrogen.
Unlike other nations with more limited land and faster growing populations, Australia has not yet understood the symbiotic benefits which accrue when solar PV and agriculture are combined. This week, the Victorian Government announced its Horticulture Solar Energy program and $5 million in funding for the Tatura SmartFarm to experiment with solar atop a pear orchard.
Looking back over years of research into the topic of hybrid systems based on different combinations of solar, wind, hydro and other renewables, an international group of scientists found strong potential for strategies to exploit complementarity between the different sources integrate more intermittent renewables onto regional and national grids. The scientists present a series of conclusions and recommendations that aim to push research in hybrid renewables forward.
Researchers at the Australian National University (ANU) will look to “set the pace” with the development of next-generation solar cell technology after receiving a $4.5 million funding boost.
The use of polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells as backup power generation in solar microgrids could drive down costs and improve efficiency, according to an international group of researchers. They have proposed a new energy management system that could be ideal for hybrid solar-hydrogen microgrids in remote locations.
Australian scientists have developed an algorithm to increase both the efficiency and compatibility of light sensitisers in solar panels, encompassing silicon cells for the first time.
Soon 2020 will only be a worry to future high-school history students. But when they ask us if anything good at all happened in 2020, remember this review and tell them that solar PV shone in the darkness. Despite the mess of it all, 2020 has been another good year for Australian solar. The industry has demonstrated resilience, and significant progress has been made in the fields of energy storage, green hydrogen and others.
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