Advancing clean energy technology

  • Hon Dr Megan Woods
Energy and Resources

Three ambitious and cutting-edge research programmes that will lift New Zealand’s advanced energy technology research capability over seven years, have been supported by Government today, says Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods.

The projects will each receive a share of $40.7 million investment from the Strategic Science Investment Fund.

“To harness the benefits of clean energy technology, we need to be at the forefront of emerging technology research and development. This investment will significantly lift our ability to provide fresh ideas to support international and national collaborations in advanced energy technology research,” says Megan Woods.

“In New Zealand, we’re facing challenges on how to use energy in the future. Internationally, countries are striving to improve energy security and access, reduce pressure on the environment and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting these challenges will require new ways of producing, using, managing and storing energy.”

Researchers from Victoria University of Wellington’s high power electric motors for large-scale transport project will help position New Zealand at the leading edge of superconductor engineering and power electronics to support the development of future electric aircraft.

University of Canterbury researchers will look at how high levels of direct current from renewable electricity technologies like solar and wind power, electric vehicles, and battery storage can be integrated into the alternating current electricity grid.

The project, Ahuora: Delivering sustainable industry through smart process heat decarbonisation being led by researchers from Waikato University, will engineer an enabling digital technology, critical for decarbonising our process heat sector by 2050. This sector currently releases about 28 percent of energy-related emissions in New Zealand and is a challenging issue globally.

“Greater use of advanced energy technology will create new ways of working, helping to position New Zealand for a cleaner, more sustainable future,” says Megan Woods.

The investment comes through the Strategic Science Investment Fund (SSIF). The SSIF’s purpose is to establish and support longer-term research programmes of mission-led science critical to the future of New Zealand’s economy, environment and wellbeing. This is the first SSIF investment in a fund dedicated to advanced energy technology research.