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Institute will tackle Auckland's Energy Problems

25 November 2005

New Institute will tackle Auckland's Energy and Infrastructure Problems

The University of Auckland is launching the Institute of Earth Science and Engineering today to help solve key geological and engineering problems facing the country. Auckland urban infrastructure and national energy supply are its immediate priorities.

The Institute will have a particular focus on Auckland. The region's unique location on an isthmus and an active volcanic field increases the likelihood that natural hazards such as earthquakes or eruptions will affect the city's infrastructure lifelines.

A joint initiative between the Faculties of Engineering and Science, the Institute will be launched this afternoon at the conclusion of the Underground Auckland symposium - 5.00pm, School of Engineering, 20 Symonds Street.

The Underground Auckland symposium will highlight many of the infrastructure problems which the Institute will work to resolve, including: unstable ground and slips, Auckland's limited aggregate resources for future construction, potential ground water contamination and storm water management.

In addition to this geotechnical research, the Institute will investigate ways to satisfy the increasing demand for sustainable electricity. It also aims to find solutions to the alarming rise in the demand for transport fuels and hopes to develop innovative ways to search for new petroleum reserves.

University of Auckland Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says the Institute will build on the expertise and experience currently spread across the Faculties of Science and Engineering.

"The Institute of Earth Science and Engineering has been formed to generate the world-class research required to solve key home grown issues.

"In New Zealand, and in particular Auckland as its largest city, we face critical issues relating to infrastructure and energy. We need to ensure that our construction is safe and efficient, that our infrastructure lifelines are adequately protected from natural hazards, and that the growing demand for energy is properly managed."

The University is committing $600,000 over the next two years to the Institute which will work closely with other agencies, including the Government, local authorities, Crown Research Institutes, the private sector and overseas research bodies.

The Institute will be managed by a Governance Board and an internationally recruited Advisory Board of industry professionals. Advertising for the Institute's Director will begin shortly.

ENDS

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