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seed projects
Migrating to renewable energy sources is a complex global challenge that require the best thinking and a collective approach to deliver solutions in what is a research problem with no determinable conclusion.

The UNSW Digital Grid Futures Institute brings together leading researchers in engineering, social sciences, public health, law, policy and design to tackle the complex matter of migrating to a digital energy grid. Our research is interdisciplinary in nature, which brings together researchers from across all UNSW Faculties, and collaborations with industry, community, philanthropy and government. The Institute draws together experts from across all UNSW Faculties including Art & Design, Arts & Social Sciences, Built Environment, Business, Engineering, Law, Medicine and Science.

UNSW Digital Grid Futures Seed Funded Projects

2021 (Live) Projects

Lead Investigator: Dr Milad Ghasri

Investigator Team
Prof Travis Waller - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering/Faculty of Engineering
A/Prof Tomasz Bednarz - Expanded Perception and Interaction Centre (EPICentre), School of Art & Design
Dr Xiang Zhang - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering/Faculty of Engineering

This research will promote and reach the proposed zero-emission transportation by 2040 by addressing what drives demand for an integrated electrified public transport system and what are passenger’s preference for different features of this system. Coverage and connectivity are two essential issues in public transport patronage. This research proposes to integrate Shared-micromobility options (small low-speed vehicles such as e-scooters) with the public transport to facilitate integrating energy storage and co-optimising the transition to zero-emission transport through an ecosystem approach.
Lead Investigator: Dr Anna Bruce

Investigator Team
A. Prof. Iain MacGill - School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Dr Sophie Adams - Faculty of Arts and Socials Sciences
Dr Maria Balatbat - UNSW Business School
Dr Mike Roberts - School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering
Dr Robert Passey - School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

This project proposes to leverage CEEM and broader UNSW research to enhance the quality and robustness of policy making in respect of clean energy transitions in Australia.
Lead Investigator: A/Prof Danyang Wang

Investigator Team
Prof Rodica Ramer - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Dr Aditya Rawal - Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre

This project leverages the world class expertise in materials synthesis and analysis coupled with highly applied engineering capabilities, to overcome current technological challenges of obtaining high energy densities in dielectric capacitor based energy storage devices.
Lead Investigator: A/Prof. Donna Green

Investigator Team

Dr Nathan Cooper - Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC)
Dr Tim Churches - Faculty of Medicine
Sam McLean - Tesla
Anthony Weinberg - Solar my Schools
Suzie Brown - Australian Parents for Climate Action

This citizen science project drawing on the fields of engineering, climate science and public health, uses social networking and community engagement in order to amplify and expand the project’s analysis and recommendations. This project will engage school children to learn about the use of paired indoor/outdoor air pollution monitors. With these, we can analyse the effects of different interventions on schoolchildren’s exposure.
Lead Investigator: Dr Laura Tuohilampi

Investigator Team
Dr Yuchen Zhang - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
PhD student Luke Steller – School of Biological Earth and Environmental Sciences
Eliza Cooper – Creative designer at Sydney Experimental Art Ensemble
Julianna Sinisalmi - Graphic designer at Juli

Starting with a Vivid 2021 event, this project will develop engaging and immersive ways to educate the community, with a focus on children and educators, about the future of energy.
Lead Investigator: Dr Matthew Priestley

Investigator Team
A/Prof. Elias Aboutanios - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Prof. Prue Vines - Faculty of Law
Prof. John Fletcher - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications

This project brings together experts from engineering and law to investigate both the legal and engineering requirements for measuring and logging the health of drone motor bearings in high-risk flight missions. This involves research in both fields including a study of the regulations set by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).
Lead Investigator: Dr Merlinde Kay

Investigator Team
A/Prof Robert Taylor - School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Dr Abhnil Prasad - Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC)
Dr Georgios Konstantinou - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Dr Mike Harris - School of Architecture and Design
Dr Muhammad Tauha Ali - School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Dr Ke Meng - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
A/ProfNed Ekins-Dawkes - School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering

The project will bring together investigators from several disciplines in Engineering, Science, and Architecture & Design and will leverage hardware that is on campus already (3 weather stations) to pull together and curate a long-term database that can be used as an input for analyzing the potential to solar-based electrification of urban transport systems.
Lead Investigator: Prof Sisi Zlatanova

Investigator Team
Dr Jack Barton - Faculty of Built Environment
Dr Binghao Li -School of Minerals and Energy Resources Engineering
Dr Johnson Shen - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Malcolm Dungey - PAM
Jason Faulkner - PAM

This project combines the focused technologies of indoor (hyper)localisation and rapid 3D scanning with Geospatial Research, Innovation and Development (GRID) to work in collaboration with PAM to develop commercially viable outputs not otherwise possible.
Lead Investigator: Dr Derrick Wing Kwan Ng

Investigator Team
Dr Huiqiao Tian - Prince of Wales Clinical School (POWCS)
Robert Schober -  Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Germany

This project aims to study the use of reconfigurable intelligent surface (RIS) as a core infrastructure for beyond 5G communication networks enabling smart cites, especially for health monitoring.
Lead Investigator: Prof. Chuan Zhao

Investigator Team
A/Prof. Neeraj Sharma - School of Chemistry
A/Prof. Da-wei Wang - School of Chemical Engineering
Dr Aditya Rawal- Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre

The project aims to build a groundbreaking hydrogen-ion-battery for grid- scale energy storage. The targets are to develop electrodes with Grotthuss proton conduction, water-in-sugar electrolytes, and prototype full- batteries.
Lead Investigator: Prof Dewei Chu

Investigator Team
Dr Zhaojun Han - School of Materials Science and Engineering
Dr Xunyu Lu - School of Chemical Engineering

This project aims to explore innovative concepts to engineer the phase and defects in molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanomaterials for highly efficient electrochemical water splitting.
Lead Investigator: Dr. Guo Chen

Investigator Team
Dr Chaojie Li - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Dr. Guoyin Li - School of Mathematics and Statistics

This project aims to develop intelligent strategies for DERs coordination facing cyber threats. It belongs to an interdisciplinary study on electrical engineering, applied mathematics, cyber security, and computer science, which provides an opportunity to conduct innovative research in an interdisciplinary environment.
Lead Investigator: Dr Nicholas Bedford

Investigator Team
A/Prof Da-wei Wang - School of Chemical Engineering
Prof Richard Tilley - School of Chemistry
Neeraj Sharma - School of Chemistry
Soshan Cheong - Mark Wainwright Analytical Centre
Priyank Kumar -School of Chemical Engineering
Susan Habas - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (United States)
Frederick Baddourn - National Renewable Energy Laboratory (United States)
Bing Song -Scion (New Zealand)
Jason Lam - City University of Hong Kong, School of Energy and Environment
Constantine Tsounis -switcH2 (Australia)

This project adapts concepts from water electrolysis and applies them to bio-oil conversion reactions, which requires researchers with diverse knowledge of chemistry and engineering principles. Additionally, the knowhow and desire to translate our research from the laboratory to a commercialized product is critical for future interactions with industrial partners.
Lead Investigator: Prof Joe Dong

Investigator Team
Dr Huiqiao Tian - Prince of Wales Clinical School (POWCS)
Dr Xuan Liu - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Dr Yuchen Zhang - School of Electrical Engineering and Telecommunications
Mr Chris Lang - Constellation Technologies Australia Pty Ltd (smart city)
Dr Chris Li - Rudder Development Pty Ltd (aged care facilities)
Ms P. Tan - Ausgrid (energy network)
Mr Stephen Elbourne - Yirigaa (Indigenous community development)
Mr Ross Richmond - Primestone Capitals (regional council development)

This research takes an integrated approach for the planning and development of user centric future smart campus/smart city framework to cover critical infrastructure as well as health monitoring/remote recommendation systems.
Lead Investigator: Prof. Sammy Lap Ip Chan

Investigator Team
Dr. Pramod Koshy - School of Materials Science and Engineering
Dr. Jiangtao Xu - School of Chemical Engineering
Dr. Ghazaleh Bahman Rokh - School of Materials Science and Engineering

This project aims to set up a zero-emission Remote Area Power Supply (RAPS) prototype consisting of an electrolyser, fuel cell and hydrogen storage, to meet the electricity consumption in remote area. The success of the project requires an interdisciplinary approach involving materials science, fuel cell technology, system and hardware design.
Lead Investigator: Prof. Travis Waller

Investigator Team
A/Prof Taha Rashidi - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Dr Fatemeh Vafaee - School of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Ali Najmi - School of Civil and Environmental Engineering