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Australia and China collaborate for sustainable energy supply

Universities in both Australia and China are working together on new technological solutions to one of the toughest challenges of energy productions: how to even out the demand for electricity.

According to a recent press release, the Australia-China Joint Research Centre for Energy Informatics and Demand Response Technologies is a new research centre that the Australian Government recently granted with AU$ 900,000.

This is part of the Australia-China Science and Research Fund Joint Research Centres to fund research into making energy supply more efficient and reliable.

The centre follows on from almost a decade of research collaboration between the University of Sydney in Australia and Tianjin University in China on energy solutions.

Rising energy problem during peak demand

Currently, the energy systems in Australia and China suffer during periods of peak demand. Because of this, there is a need to even out the demand for energy to avoid seeing big peak demands on the system.

Focusing on interdisciplinary research in computer science and engineering, the centre will make full use of state-of-art computer science techniques to better manage energy usage in households.

The new integrated system will be able to account for peak energy demand times and adjust the household’s electrical use accordingly.

According to the World Energy Outlook, China is currently the world’s largest energy consumer and without further action on energy efficiency, it will account for nearly 22% of the primary energy demand in 2040.

The Head of School of Electrical and Information Engineering at Tianjin University explained that the joint centre with the University of Sydney has significant scientific value that will produce innovative results in the energy field.

Hopefully, the centre will act as a vital link between the researchers and the public and be able to make important contributions to the development of new energy technologies in both countries.

Running a pilot program together

The teams are working with the State Grid Corporation of China and Energy Australia to run a pilot program using the smart meters that they have developed.

The meters draw on information about energy consumption and combine it with Internet of Things (IoT), or internet connectivity in everyday devices, to adjust household energy usage, making it more efficient and cost-effective.

The smart meters can detect when electricity demand is at its peak and most expensive and adjust household electrical devices.

The partnership between the University of Sydney and Tianjin University has already yielded an international patent proposing a computational method for using Internet of Things (IoT) devices with an enhanced data processing technique to efficiently collect data from distributed grid systems.

The other partners in the research centre are RMIT University and Energy Australia from Australia, and Tianjin University and Tsinghua University and State Grid from China.

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