A world-class energy centre designed to supply its own power and to showcase the best of Australian and overseas energy technologies, was opened in the Australia city of Newcastle north of Sydney Friday.
The start of building of the new Energy Centre will be celebrated at a ceremony involving Federal Minister for Science Mr Peter McGauran, NSW Premier Mr Bob Carr and the Chief Executive of CSIRO, Dr Geoff Garrett.
The facility, due for completion in mid-2003, will feature a unique combination of energy efficient building design plus small-scale generation units capable of delivering most of its power needs.
The new Centre will be a futuristic distributed energy system in action. Photovoltaic cells incorporated into the structure, gas microturbines and wind generators will initially provide most of the power. Down the track, fuel cells, a solar-thermal system and a 1megawatt energy storage system will be incorporated.
The microturbines and fuel cells will also provide space heating in winter and will be linked to novel turbo-chiller technology for cooling in summer. These, linked to an overall energy efficient design, will display CSIRO's commitment to novel energy systems.
Dr Garrett says the decision to invest in the new Energy Centre is linked closely to CSIRO's research and development strategy and to national priorities.
"A substantial part of the cost of the building will be invested in providing support for demonstration technologies," he says.
"We believe that demonstrating new and emerging technologies in a working building is an excellent way to show our industry and government partners what can be achieved."
"In our public opinion research, Australians made it clear that one of the most important tasks for their national science agency is to come up with more efficient, competitive and cleaner energy systems. We take their challenge very seriously and are making sure our R&D and future investment is focused on national goals."
"This new investment will ensure CSIRO and its partners play a key role in developing and demonstrating the newer technologies and energy systems associated with distributed energy - that is, energy generation located close to the end-user - new generation transport based on advanced drive technologies and intelligent transport systems and energy efficiency.
Dr John Wright, Chief of CSIRO Energy Technology says the key to the new Centre will be partnerships - both to undertake the research and demonstration and to transfer technologies to the market.
He thanked the NSW Government and the NSW Sustainable Energy development Authority (SEDA) who have already committed substantial funds to the project.
"I believe Australia has a wealth of research expertise and innovative companies who will want to join us in this exciting venture and ensure solid benefits to industry and the community."
CSIRO Energy Technology
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