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Net Zero Initiative Seed funding announced

27 June 2022

Supporting decarbonisation innovation programs

The Faculty of Engineering is pleased to announce collaborative research projects that have been awarded grants to support the path to net zero target. 

The Net Zero Initiative by The Faculty of Engineering brings together over 100 researchers across the University of Sydney with the aim of tackling climate change risk and supporting decarbonisation innovation programs in Australia towards a net zero target. 

The initiative helps industry, manufacturers, government and water, energy, and transport providers to understand, develop and adopt innovative and low emissions technology scalably and cost-effectively.
Professor Ken Tye Yong, Initiative Lead

Through innovative partnerships, The University of Sydney researches create new systems to deliver low-cost, zero-emissions energy and reduce the demand for products and services that result in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Faculty of Engineering Net Zero Initiative Seed funding supports decarbonisation programs with our partners by providing up to $75 000 grants to research and innovate clean energy processes and technologies.

The Faculty is pleased to announce 2022 grants have been awarded to:

Green Surface Mining

Led by Dr Andrew Hill and Professor Ian Manchester
Partner: Rio Tinto

To support Rio Tinto on its path to net zero emissions by 2050, engineers will conduct an initial investigation into the technologies and gaps and the maturity of the technology. The findings will confirm what additional supporting research and development is required to actually deploy it and will lead to new research projects into filling the gaps. 

Identifying Net Zero Pathways for Advanced Carbon Materials and Products

Led by Professor Yuan Chen, Dr Benjamin Chivers, and Dr Li Wei
Partner: Hazer Group

The project will evaluate the environmental and market impacts of cleaner production methods of advanced carbon materials based on the Hazer process, which enables the effective conversion of natural gas into hydrogen and high-quality graphite, using iron ore as a process catalyst. If the results show promising techno-economic opportunities and net-zero impacts, the findings will be used to design proposals and industry-focused research collaborations. 

Direct Air Capture for Carbon Dioxide Removal

Led by Professor Deanna D'Alessandro cofounder of Southern Green Gas, and an interdisciplinary team across Engineering, Science, Sydney Manufacturing Hub, Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Sydney Policy Lab, Sydney Environment Institute and the Matilda Centre
Partner: Southern Green Gas

To address the urgent need to remove emissions of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology, this project will focus on improving the Metal-Organic-Framework adsorbent and 3D printing methods, including optimisation of the dynamics of the DAC processes. The ultimate goal is to provide a role model of the best practice for an environmentally, socially, and ethically responsible transition to Australia’s sustainable energy future. 

Long-range hydrogen-fuelled drone for remote Australia’s healthcare

Led by Associate Professor Dries Verstraete
Partner: ASAC Consultancy

To bridge the gap in health inequalities and health inequities for the population living in Australia’s remote and regional regions, a medical drone will be designed and built. It will assist health and emergency services by increasing access to essential services and enabling timely diagnostics and treatment. The drone will be the first green hydrogen-fuelled long-distance drone with a temperature-controlled and refrigerated compartment to meet Australian Standards and CASA regulations for transporting blood products, vaccines, and infectious substances. 

Towards measuring social impact of Net Zero transport initiatives

Led by Dr Emily Moylan, Dr Jennifer Kent, Professor Stephen Greaves and Professor David Levinson
Partner: NSW Department of Planning and Environment, Science Economics, and Insights Division

The success of Net Zero initiatives is often measured in terms of emissions reduction or economic output, but benefits and disbenefits may be realised unevenly across places and the community. For that reason, this project is looking to establish the data sources and methods needed to understand the social impact of policies and programs supporting electric vehicle deployment in New South Wales.