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New Digital Energy TestLab launched at RMIT

Image Credits: RMIT, Press Release

RMIT and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe announced a new Digital Energy TestLab that aims to enable students and researchers to simulate intelligent electrical systems for smart cities in a Victorian first.

Harnessing the power of data analytics, Internet of Things (IoT), simulation and the same hardware and software used by new generation national networks, the future energy workforce can evaluate and model real-world scenarios and optimise energy systems for smart cities, including national and local energy grids.

It builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) RMIT, the German industrial manufacturing company and another German multinational industrial control and automation company signed in 2021 to drive industry and workforce transformation.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of RMIT’s STEM College and Vice President of Digital Innovation welcomed the latest strategic initiative, saying it opened new education and research pathways to one of the nation’s most critical topics – the future of energy for smarter and more sustainable cities.

He noted that energy impacts every industry and every home in Australia. The region’s cities need smarter energy grids and systems that support our sustainable development agenda. He added that with a growing mix of energy types coming into the market, the focus is on developing new technological solutions and new workforces to help progress the region’s economy through Industry 4.0 towards a more sustainable future.

By working in interdisciplinary teams engaged with industry, RMIT’s students and researchers are gaining valuable soft skills in teamwork, systems thinking and problem-solving, while using the latest in digital technology that will set them up for life and work.

The Digital Energy TestLab features two modelling options for students: the national grid simulation that mimics complex energy scenarios using the Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO’s) data and a microgrid system that mimics more complex energy flows from multiple traditional and renewable sources of diverse sizes.

It is the latest addition in a network of TestLabs with universities across Australia, designed to build capability across a range of critical areas from energy and agribusiness to advanced manufacturing.

The Chairman and CEO of the Australian branch of the partnering company stated that Australia’s progress towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 hinged on using innovative technologies and people who could harness them to deliver innovative solutions.

He said he was proud to continue to work with RMIT and other Australian key educators to help drive better outcomes for the nation on critical topics such as digitalisation and energy.

He added that through the contribution of the tech firm’s technology in the TestLab, students will now have firsthand experience working on data that can help maintain grid stability in the event of situations such as natural disasters and outages.

Students also can understand the dynamics and impact of various generation sources such as wind and solar power, storage, electric vehicle charging and other infrastructure.

The CEO of Engineers Australia stated that “engineering was at the heart of solving society’s greatest challenges, including the future of energy.” She added that now Australian engineers will have access to the best tools and, therefore, will be able to develop the real-world skills necessary to guide the region through the journey to a more dependable, cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy future.

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