Australian institutes spearhead global efforts in clean energy innovation

CSIRO Head Office

Tuesday, 19 September, 2023

Australian institutes spearhead global efforts in clean energy innovation

Six of the nation’s leading research institutions, including CSIRO, have united with international researchers to spearhead innovation to address challenges in clean energy production and storage.

In a joint effort between Australia, the US, Canada and the UK, two multi-lateral research projects have been announced today as part of the National Science Foundation Global Centers in Climate Change and Clean Energy (NSF Global Centers) program. Together, these countries have pledged more than AU$118 million in investment in the NSF Global Centers program over five years to tackle challenges posed by climate change as the world moves towards net zero.

Kirsten Rose, Acting Chief Executive of CSIRO, said as Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO is proud to be part of a strong national contribution to solving this critical global challenge.

“CSIRO is proud to stand alongside numerous Australian research organisations to combine our shared expertise, strengthening our national response to accelerate the transition to a cleaner, sustainable energy future,” she said. “Collaborative initiatives like CSIRO’s Hydrogen Industry Mission and Smart Energy Mission are essential in ensuring solutions are co-designed with industry, research and our communities.

“Partnering with the NSF’s Global Centers means Australia remains at the global forefront of work to build a clean hydrogen industry, build integrated and equitable energy systems, and partnering with regions and industries for a low emissions future.”

Two projects earmarked by the multi-national collaboration are being steered by Australian innovations:

  • The Electric Power Innovation for a Carbon-free Society (EPICS) Centre will be a global scientific leader in developing transformative computing, economic strategies, engineering solutions and forward-thinking policy to enable a completely renewable energy power grid. This joint project involves the US, UK and Australia and is led by CSIRO and AEMO, the University of Melbourne and Monash University in Australia.
  • The Global Hydrogen Production Technologies (HyPT) Centre is pioneering large-scale net-zero hydrogen production methods. It explores three innovative technologies: renewable energy-integrated water electrolysis, methane pyrolysis with valuable solid carbon co-products, and solar-driven water splitting. The University of Adelaide, Flinders University and Curtin University represent Australia in this international collaboration, working with partners from the US, Canada, the UK, Egypt and Germany.

The institutions will pool resources and expertise to confront the challenges of a changing climate and continue the charge towards net zero emissions.

Speaking on the EPICS Centre, the University of Melbourne Chair of Electrical Power Systems and Australian EPICS Centre Principal Investigator, Professor Pierluigi Mancarella, said: “This Global Centre is an unprecedented opportunity to partner with major international institutes in the US and UK, and harness world-leading research to address some of the most pressing scientific challenges that Australia and other jurisdictions worldwide are facing during the energy transition towards net zero.

“These challenges range from guaranteeing stable and secure system operation in the presence of ultra-high penetration of variable energy sources and distributed energy resources, most of which are based on power electronic interfaces, to identifying reliable and resilient investment paths across the whole energy system in the presence of deep, long-term planning uncertainty.”

As the national science agency, CSIRO plays an important role in connecting and strengthening the Australian innovation ecosystem. This ensures we are equipped to meet our biggest challenges for the future and allows us to harness global networks to facilitate opportunities for collaborative research across industry, government and science organisations.

CSIRO’s missions are large-scale scientific and collaborative research initiatives that aim to work across the innovation system to make significant breakthroughs. Through missions, CSIRO aims to accelerate the pace and scale at which the nation can solve its challenges and unlock a better future.

The NSF Global Centers in Climate Change and Clean Energy is a multimillion-dollar partnership involving the United States (NSF), Canada (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada), the United Kingdom (UK Research and Innovation) and Australia (CSIRO).

The NSF Global Centers is committing US$76.4 million over five years across the four partner countries and is supporting international, interdisciplinary collaborative research centres to bring together the brightest minds from across the globe to address the most pressing challenges the world faces today.


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