Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


UC takes lead in clean energy

UC takes lead in clean energy

What is the largest source by far of affordable, low-carbon energy available for development? If people think the answer is wind or solar or even hydro, University of Canterbury (UC) mechanical engineering professor Susan Krumdieck says they might be surprised.

Actually the biggest resource for power generation is coal or gas that has already been burned, Professor Krumdieck says.

``The heat that is rejected from industrial processes like making steel or petrol or cement could be used to generate about 20 times more electricity than could be developed from wind and solar combined.”

A major new green energy research project has just been funded by the Government and industry with total contributions of more than $8 million over the next four years.

UC’s advanced energy and material systems laboratory is the lead research group in the national project and has a budget of over $2 million to achieve the main objective of developing the thermal engineering capability and design tools to build thermal power plants.

The technology is well known and used for geothermal power plants around the world. However, there are only a couple of companies that currently convert heat into electricity. The mission for the UC team is to develop their own organic Rankine cycle plant design made with New Zealand-produced components and delivered by New Zealand companies.

Industry must burn coal, oil or natural gas to process every kilogram of steel, plastic, glass, paint, fertilizer or butter and to manufacture every iPad or pair of shoes, Professor Krumdieck said.

``But just like baking a cake, after you have used the heat, you normally just reject all that energy to the environment. In the case of big factories, the amount of energy dumped is more than all renewable resources combined.

``When most of the industrial plants were designed and built, fuel and electricity were much cheaper and it made sense to just dump un-used heat. The first problem for the team to solve is an efficient and cost-effective method for prospecting the unwanted energy from industry.

``Over the past two years, we have come a long way and have developed the energy prospecting tool and we have built our first power plant.

``We are investigating the possibility of using the co-generation approach for replacing UC’s coal boiler and also for new district heat and power as part of the central city re-build.’’

The project has seven postgraduate scholarships with the intention that the engineers that gain the specialist skills in prospecting, designing, building and operating these power plants will be part of a new energy engineering company that can develop green energy products and services for use within New Zealand and internationally.

Professor Krumdieck says UC’s mechanical engineering department has a new 35 kW micro gas turbine and the power plant is using the exhaust heat from that unit. The plant was built by final year students and is being upgraded over the summer.

``Now that we have the massive funding boost, we will move to a much larger unit that will hopefully be fuelled by waste wood and we will learn-by-doing. We are looking for good mechanical engineers.’’

The Heavy Engineering Research Association is coordinating the research work that also includes Auckland University, manufacturers and power companies. UC has worked with Mighty River Power over the years on research into geothermal power systems. The new project headed by Professor Krumdieck also includes UC mechanical engineers Dr Mathieu Sellier, Dr Mark Jermy, Dr Sid Becker and Dr Dirk Pons.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Werewolf: Katniss Joins The News Team

From the outset, the Hunger Games series has dwelt obsessively on the ways that media images infiltrate our public and personal lives... From that grim starting point, Mockingjay Part One takes the process a few stages further. There is very little of the film that does not involve the characters (a) being on screens (b) making propaganda footage to be screened and (c) reacting to what other characters have been doing on screens. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Ko Witi Te Kaituhituhi

Witi Ihimaera, the distinguished Māori author and the first Māori to publish a book of short stories and a novel, has adopted a new genre with his latest book. But despite its subtitle, this book is a great deal more than a memoir of childhood. More>>

Werewolf: Rescuing Paul Robeson

Would it be any harder these days, for the US government to destroy the career of a famous American entertainer and disappear them from history – purely because of their political beliefs? You would hope so. In 1940, Paul Robeson – a gifted black athlete, singer, film star, Shakespearean actor and orator – was one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. More>>

ALSO:

"Not A Competition... A Quest": Chapman Tripp Theatre Award Winners

Big winners on the night were Equivocation (Promising Newcomer, Best Costume, Best Director and Production of the Year), Kiss the Fish (Best Music Composition, Outstanding New NZ Play and Best Supporting Actress), and Watch (Best Set, Best Sound Design and Outstanding Performance). More>>

ALSO:

Film Awards: The Dark Horse Scores Big

An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach An inspirational film based on real life Gisborne speed-chess coach Genesis Potini, made all the right moves to take out top honours along with five other awards at the Rialto Channel New Zealand Film Awards - nicknamed The Moas. More>>

ALSO:

Theatre: Ralph McCubbin Howell Wins 2014 Bruce Mason Award

The Bruce Mason Playwriting Award was presented to Ralph McCubbin Howell at the Playmarket Accolades in Wellington on 23 November 2014. More>>

ALSO:

One Good Tern: Fairy Tern Crowned NZ Seabird Of The Year

The fairy tern and the Fiji petrel traded the lead in the poll several times. But a late surge saw it come out on top with 1882 votes. The Fiji petrel won 1801 votes, and 563 people voted for the little blue penguin. More>>

Music Awards: Lorde Reigns Supreme

Following a hugely successful year locally and internationally, Lorde has done it again taking out no less than six Tuis at the 49th annual Vodafone New Zealand Music Awards. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news