MQ Sustainable Energy Research Centre

Project: Research

Project Details


MQ-SERC (MQ- \ˈsərk\) brings together researchers from School of Engineering, Department of Molecular Sciences, Department of Environmental Sciences, and Macquarie Business School with world leading expertise tackling issues associated with Sustainable Energy given the following context.

Sustainable Living
- While world population and energy demand continue to grow, we have spent all of our "quota" for carbon dioxide (CO2) emission. [1]
- Global warming is imminent: 1.5ºC above pre-industrial level.
- Reducing the reliance on fossil fuel is crucial 1-3ºC increase in temperature results in loss of most coral reefs; Artic summer ice and most glaziers; 3-5ºC results in species extinction (1in 6); loss of rainforest and carbon sink; submergence of land occupied by 500-700 million people and most important, the destruction of human civilization. [2]

Sustainable Energy Source [3]
- Fortunately, since year 2013, the world has been adding more renewable energy each year than coal, natural gas, and oil combined.
- In 2018, 66% of total energy comes from fossil fuels.
- By 2050, 66% of total energy is predicted to come from zero-carbon energy source. 50% of total from wind and solar.
- In 2018, 2% of total electricity generation comes from solar
- By 2050, 22% of total electricity generation is predicted to come from solar. This can be expedited by further reduction in cost, further improvement in energy conversion efficiency and the use of new thin materials expanding the market for solar.

Sustainable Energy Management
- To combat renewable energy intermittency, storage is critical such as the use of hydrogen (H2) to achieve 100% renewable energy penetration.
- We also need to be smarter in our energy use, e.g., demand side management (full control of when to use energy and how much to use) and energy efficiency (to produce more with less)
- As the world transitions towards fully renewable and fully electrical vehicle economy, electricity grid need to cope with the increasing dynamic nature of energy demand and supply.

Sustainable Energy done Sustainably
- This requires a robust examination of the entire value chain of renewable energy generation identifying environmental impacts, cost drivers, safe and reliable processes.

3. New Energy Outlook, Bloomberg 2019

To meet the energy demand from growing population, the focus of MQ-SERC is to drive innovations in next generation clean energy conversion, energy storage and energy distribution technologies that are cost effective, reliable and safe with minimal environmental impact.

This is strategic given that energy is now one of the hottest research areas (Impact factor of journal Nature Energy = 46.8 > Impact factor of journal Nature = 41.6).

MQ-SERC consists of world class researchers and state of the art facilities across 4 schools & departments for material synthesis; device fabrication; advanced characterisation; electrical and mechanical system design and testing; chemical energy conversion systems; computational modelling researching on
o Photovoltaic materials and devices and the associated power electronics for integration into buildings, vehicles and wearables achieving world record efficiencies;
o Renewable fuel, e.g., H2 generation, storage, combustion and fuel cells collaborating with industries in close proximity to MQ;
o Energy management
Effective start/end date1/01/2031/12/22