Newcastle engineering researchers' innovative heat conversion technology wins award
A University of Newcastle revolutionary clean energy technology scooped the pool at the 2015 Newcastle Engineering Excellence Awards.
GRANEX®, the innovative heat conversion technology invented by researchers Professor Behdad Moghtaderi and Dr Elham Doroodchi, won a Newcastle Engineering Excellence Award and was named overall Newcastle Division winner, sponsored by GHD, at the event at Newcastle Town Hall.
A partnership between Granite Power Limited, the University of Newcastle (UON), Newcastle Innovation, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), this breakthrough technology is currently being used at a demonstration power plant at Wallsend Swimming Centre, delivering low cost, year-round pool heating.
The GRANEX® demonstration plant comprises a 200-kilowatt field of parabolic solar collectors plus related power block and thermal storage elements.
Invented by Newcastle School of Engineering Professor Moghtaderi and Dr Doroodchi and developed by Granite Power, GRANEX® uses any available heat sources, such as industrial waste heat, solar and geothermal energy sources to generate low cost, zero carbon emission electricity.
Professor Moghtaderi said the Wallsend demonstration project provided working proof that the technology generated electricity for commercial use or sale into the Grid, improved productivity and quickly paid for itself.
“This project demonstrates the financial rewards of the GRANEX® technology in a market searching for productivity gains and where rising electricity costs are a constant threat to commercial competitiveness.
“GRANEX® has the potential to reduce fuel use for remote industrial sites currently reliant on diesel power generation including mining and the oil and gas sector and to maximise solar thermal power generation.
“Alongside the tangible cost saving benefit to industry, this technology will have widespread social impacts in reducing the need for diesel generation in remote Australian communities.”
What began as a small-scale consultancy project by Professor Moghtaderi for Granite Power through Newcastle Innovation (the UON’s commercial arm), GRANEX® is now a commercially licensed, patented technology with wide application and huge potential.
The demonstration power plant is an Australian Government initiative with funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
Engineers Australia Division president Michael van Koeverden said the awards program encourages and celebrates engineering by identifying, recognising and promoting excellence in engineering.
As the overall Newcastle winner, the Solar-GRANEX Wallsend Pool project is now a finalist for a national Engineers Australia Excellence award.