SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

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Electric Power Engineering Centre


EPECentre and PEET are joint initiatives between the electricity industry and UC. EPECentre is a world-class clean technology research incubator that fosters collaboration and innovation. Ongoing research, with a positive impact on carbon emissions, includes new technology impact assessment (e.g. Electric Vehicle), research programmes on electricity grid transformation (e.g. defining the architecture of the future low-carbon power system) and electrification of transport (e.g. electric motor drives for large scale transport). Education and outreach activities delivered by EPECentre on behalf of PEET connect students, academia and industry to enhance the mutual experience.

 

Future-Proofing the NZ Electrical Grid

Professor Neville Watson, from UC’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, leads a major project to ensure modern renewable energy can be integrated into New Zealand’s
century-old electrical grid to futureproof the power supply and benefit every New Zealander. Professor Watson’s programme will research how high levels of direct current from renewable  electricity technologies, like solar and wind power, electric vehicles and battery storage, can be efficiently integrated into the alternating current electrical grid as well as which parts of the electrical grid would be better served by using direct current for conveyance.

 

Education in Renewable Energy

Global needs for renewable energy are constantly rising. In our minor in Engineering Processing Technologies programme, students gain insight into the various kinds of energy, such as hydrogen, geothermal, solar, hydropower and wind, and learn how to identify opportunities to reduce energy demand. In other UC programmes, students can learn about the variety of renewable energy resources and conversion technologies, system modelling techniques, challenges to sustainability, and practical solutions to common issues. Graduates can continue with the Master of Civil Engineering (Renewable Energy) or Master of Engineering Studies (Renewable Energy) programmes.

 

Minor in Power Engineering

Efficient and sustainable power generation and transmission is highly important in the modern world. Systems such as generators, transformers, and motors are widely used across different industries, and therefore need graduates with the expertise to create and improve these. UC students can investigate electric power generation, distribution, and usage through electrical devices in our Power Engineering minor programme. They learn about the different forms of power, how power is created and about specialised systems, such as renewable energy.

 

Greener Future in Solar Cell Technology

Dr Paula Brooksby, a Senior Researcher in UC’s School of Physical and Chemical Science, is at the forefront of research to refine fast-advancing solar cell technology. Dr Brooksby is exploring the potential of a carbon-based material (graphene) to revolutionise photovoltaic technology and performance. With the support of a grant from the Marsden Fund, Dr Brooksby and co-researcher Dr Noel Duffy (CSIRO) plan to fully investigate graphene as a tool in solar cell design. Their goal is to be the first to engineer thin transparent grapheneorganic film electrodes to evaluate their potential use in perovskite solar cells.

 

A Graduate’s Voice on Renewable Energy

Sonam Zam completed UC’s Master of Engineering Studies (Renewable Energy). Sonam works at the stateowned Druk Green Power Corporation in Bhutan, which operates and maintains hydropower assets. Bhutan is landlocked, mountainous, and highly dependent on hydropower. “My Master’s project focused on pumped hydro which will be important in Bhutan because at present we don’t have reservoirs for storing water. What I’ve studied in New Zealand is renewable energy, hydro, solar and wind and I’m hoping I can apply these back at home. In  some remote areas of Bhutan, hydropower isn’t viable so solar and wind-generated energy would be more practical options. I was completely new to those when I came here [to New Zealand]” says Sonam.