Critical research infrastructure at Brisbane’s newest knowledge-based precinct

Prime Minister Julia Gillard officially opened the flagship research precinct of the Queensland University of Technology in February.

The $230 million QUT Science and Engineering Centre is the newest hub in the University’s knowledge-based research network, which comprises centres and pilot plants in Banyo, Brisbane, Mackay and the Samford Valley – each with facilities for end-user, industry-directed research and development.

The Science and Engineering Centre houses The Cube – one of the world’s largest digital labs and learning spaces for modelling, visualising and interpreting complex systems – and the Central Analytical Research Facility, which contains state-of-the-art instruments for analysing the physical, chemical and biological properties of solids, liquids and gases.

Headquarters to the QUT Institute for Future Environments, it brings together industry, government, communities, and more than 300 QUT scholars from the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, business and law to seek solutions to some of the world’s most critical issues, from managing scarce natural resources to developing clean technologies and building and maintaining resilient infrastructure.

Future Energy Systems is one of seven key fields identified by the Institute for increased public and private research collaboration.

QUT recently partnered with Ergon Energy, SmartGrid Partners and Brookfield Financial to form the Guided Innovation Alliance (GIA), to address barriers to the uptake of new energy-saving innovations in the electricity sector and facilitate the utilisation of these products in the near term.

Testing and verifying the performance of new energy-saving technologies from a broad range of international, national and local developers will provide energy companies with a clearer picture of the “power grid performance” of these devices, and bring high-potential devices to the market more quickly.

The products being tested or considered for testing by researchers are concerned with energy efficiency, demand-side management and energy conservation, renewable energy integration and thermal and electrical storage.

Along with detailed tests for verifying the products performance, QUT researchers will develop a software model of the equipment, which can be used in power system network simulators to predict the response of the network to the new technology.

The GIA is one of many industry-research initiatives to improve social and economic outcomes in Australia, and globally.

The Institute’s knowledge-base and facilities support research aligned with the following themes:

  • Mathematics, Computation, Simulation and e-Research
  • Future Energy Systems and Clean Technologies
  • Secure and Resilient Infrastructure
  • Intelligent Environments
  • Healthy Ecosystems and Environmental Monitoring
  • Sustainable Tropical and Subtropical Production
  • Geosystems and Resources