News – PACE https://pacetoday.com.au Process & Control Engineering Mon, 17 Dec 2018 05:02:41 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.2 https://pacetoday.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/prime-creative-media-50x50.png News – PACE https://pacetoday.com.au 32 32 UTS Tech Lab: a new way to bring both industry and academia together https://pacetoday.com.au/uts-tech-lab-new-way-bring-industry-academia-together/ https://pacetoday.com.au/uts-tech-lab-new-way-bring-industry-academia-together/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:51:17 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=47599 Associate Professor Ray Kirby, director, Tech Lab Operations, FEIT, The University of Technology Sydney tells PACE how industry and academia can complement each other. The collaboration between industry and academia has been an ongoing topic of debate for decades. Australia has well-regarded research emerging from different fields but ranks last globally when it comes to … Continue reading UTS Tech Lab: a new way to bring both industry and academia together

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Associate Professor Ray Kirby, director, Tech Lab Operations, FEIT, The University of Technology Sydney tells PACE how industry and academia can complement each other.

The collaboration between industry and academia has been an ongoing topic of debate for decades. Australia has well-regarded research emerging from different fields but ranks last globally when it comes to businesses collaborating on innovation with higher education or research institutions.

Another report revealed that Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) could increase by $8 billion over the next 10 years, if Australia reached just the OECD average for collaboration between industry and academia.

Meanwhile, the NSW Innovation and Productivity Scorecard released last month noted that, while NSW leads Australia in terms of research collaborations per institute, there is scope to improve collaborative research efforts in NSW and nationally.

The opening of the University of Technology Sydney’s Tech Lab in September is a step in that direction. Led by the UTS Faculty of Engineering and Technology, the purpose-built, $65 million facility covers 9,000 sqm in the Sydney suburb of Botany, in close proximity to a major new technology and innovation precinct recently announced by the NSW government.

Tech Lab is a unique research facility in Australia, where academics and researchers from diverse fields work in tandem with industry and government to develop innovative solutions for the world of tomorrow, taking new technologies from early readiness to commercial viability.

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The facility is designed to deliberately disrupt traditional university approaches to undertaking research. Tech Lab seeks to build consortia to work on projects under the Internet of Things (IoT) theme, housed within its diverse laboratories.

Tech Lab aims to work with a wide range of companies, from big to small, including working with startups to continue to build on Australia’s research strengths. It brings industry and academia together to deliver the most technologically- advanced products and services. This will provide growth for businesses and jobs for the students and the wider community. Created to nurture collaboration and partnerships with industry and government, Tech Lab features an open plan design, both in its lab spaces and its activity-based workspaces. This encourages collaborative work and interaction between researchers and specialists. Work and meeting spaces are available so external partners can work alongside UTS researchers.

IoT is a strategic research focus for Tech Lab, linking together the multidisciplinary research strengths within its walls to foster a new capacity for technological impact in countless arenas. The multidisciplinary nature of the facility strategically links research strengths from numerous areas of engineering and IT. The lab leaders at Tech Lab are experts in their fields, and provide research direction using state-of- the-art facilities. Tech Lab capabilities span but are not limited to: civil and environmental engineering; mechanical and mechatronic engineering; software, electrical and data engineering; systems; management; and leadership.

Tech Lab will offer R&D projects, consultancy, contract work and short courses. It is equipped with state- of-the-art capabilities that include, among other things:

  • computational intelligence and brain-computer interface (CIBCI) lab;
  • multimedia lab;
    centre for autonomous systems (CAS) lab;
  • centre for electrical machines and power electronics (CEMPE);
  • photonics;
  • acoustics lab;
  • large-scale structural testing facility;
  • material characterisation and service life performance lab;
  • geotechnical laboratory;
  • X-labs;
  • and laser doppler vibrometry lab.

Partnership is at the heart of Tech Lab’s philosophy and the facility is focusing on creating robust applied research collaborations between academia, industry and government, in
spaces where people can meet, generate ideas and make them happen. Spaces are also available for contract and consultancy work, and for external partners to explore and upskill in new and developing technologies.

Tech Lab has already welcomed organisations such as Sydney Water, which will work with the facility in robotics and smart sensing in pipelines, as well as Nokia, which will run training courses out of the facility. Tech Lab is also in discussion with many other companies interested in working with UTS in the new facility, especially in areas such as smart cities, IoT, and advanced manufacturing.

Tech Lab will not only help Australia draw closer to countries with strong traditional research collaboration cultures, such as Germany, Canada and Singapore, but leapfrog other nations in innovative approaches to skill building and cross- disciplinary problem solving.

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Monash engineering research receives ARC funding boost https://pacetoday.com.au/monash-engineering-research-receives-arc-funding-boost/ https://pacetoday.com.au/monash-engineering-research-receives-arc-funding-boost/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:35:04 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=47596 Twenty-eight engineering research projects at Monash University have received grants via the latest round of  Australian Research Council (ARC) funding. An unprecedented 20 discovery projects, as well as for four linkage Infrastructure, equipment and facilities projects, three discovery early career research awards and one linkage project are to be funded by the grants. “The ARC … Continue reading Monash engineering research receives ARC funding boost

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Twenty-eight engineering research projects at Monash University have received grants via the latest round of  Australian Research Council (ARC) funding.

An unprecedented 20 discovery projects, as well as for four linkage Infrastructure, equipment and facilities projects, three discovery early career research awards and one linkage project are to be funded by the grants.

“The ARC has a highly competitive peer-reviewed application process,” said Chris Hutchinson, Monash’s associate dean of research in the Faculty of Engineering.

“These fantastic outcomes are a testament to the high calibre and commitment of our researchers and their teams.”

The grants will boost innovative research in chemical, civil, electrical and computer systems, materials, mechanical and aerospace engineering – advancing everything from biodegradable stents and ultra-lightweight corrosion-resistant metal products to landfill liners and smart windows for green construction to micro-air vehicles and soil moisture satellite missions.

Among the funded projects are the following:

  • Exploration of semiconducting polymer chains and charge transport in thin-film devices to improve high-performance polymer transistors, laying the groundwork for new technologies based on lightweight flexible electronic devices (Assoc Prof Christopher McNeill, Assoc Prof David Huang, Prof Martin Heeney and Prof Michael Sommer).
  • Developing new membranes as separators in lithium-sulphur batteries to produce lighter, longer-lasting and cheaper batteries than the existing lithium-ion ones, with the potential to boost the adoption of electric cars (Assoc Prof Matthew Hill, Prof Mainak Majumder, Dr Mahdokht Shaibani and Prof Stephen Kaskel).
  • Interdisciplinary study of sperm motion at surfaces, providing insight into flagellar motility in eukaryotes and the biophysics of mammalian reproduction (Dr Reza Nosrati, Dr Prabhakar Ranganathan and Prof David Sinton).

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Federal grant funding provided for two industry innovation hubs https://pacetoday.com.au/federal-grant-funding-provided-two-industry-innovation-hubs/ https://pacetoday.com.au/federal-grant-funding-provided-two-industry-innovation-hubs/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:21:26 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=47594 A new innovation hub helping start-ups fast track new products to the global market and another that works in the clean energy sector have received federal government funding. ManuFutures, an innovation hub based in Geelong’s Deakin University, and Sydney-based The Energy Laboratory have each received a $500,000 grant as part of the government’s Incubator Support … Continue reading Federal grant funding provided for two industry innovation hubs

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A new innovation hub helping start-ups fast track new products to the global market and another that works in the clean energy sector have received federal government funding.

ManuFutures, an innovation hub based in Geelong’s Deakin University, and Sydney-based The Energy Laboratory have each received a $500,000 grant as part of the government’s Incubator Support initiative.

ManuFutures supports emerging advanced manufacturing and cutting edge technology enterprises, creating new-to-market products.

“The Incubator Support funding will help Deakin develop a unique program that will accelerate its resident start-ups into targeted export growth markets,” industry, science and technology minister, Karen Andrews, said.

The Energy Laboratory’s project involves expanding its clean energy Acceleration Program to Melbourne, Hobart, Canberra and Lismore, and includes teaching modules, connection with international mentors and the support of four new start-ups in each of these four new markets.

Andrews said ManuFutures and The Energy Laboratory are existing incubators with a proven track record.

“The start-ups assisted by these two incubators will be able to test their prototypes and learn important business skills such as driving sales growth and how to go global,” she said.

“The Coalition recognises the crucial role incubators and innovative start-ups play across the Australian economy in creating high-value jobs, contributing to increased productivity and bringing new products and services to market, that’s why we’re providing this support.”

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Limitations of industrial solar systems and how to overcome them https://pacetoday.com.au/limitations-industrial-solar-systems-overcome/ https://pacetoday.com.au/limitations-industrial-solar-systems-overcome/#respond Sun, 16 Dec 2018 23:06:13 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=47591 While renewables have been grabbing headlines over the past couple of years, there are some inherent issues surrounding the technology. PACE explains. Recent cost reductions in solar technologies, and a changing energy landscape, has seen a wave of industrial businesses install industrial solar PV systems to slash their electricity bills. As other businesses look to … Continue reading Limitations of industrial solar systems and how to overcome them

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While renewables have been grabbing headlines over the past couple of years, there are some inherent issues surrounding the technology. PACE explains.

Recent cost reductions in solar technologies, and a changing energy landscape, has seen a wave of industrial businesses install industrial solar PV systems to slash their electricity bills.

As other businesses look to do the same, it will pay to do the research and understand exactly how maximum ROI can be gained from solar. This is because the nature of the sun, the energy market, current technology availability and the way industrial operators are billed, means less can be gained from installing solar panels on their own.

But businesses are seeing solar’s value, for example first movers like Sanjeev Gupta, SA Water CEO Roch Cheroux, and Kingspan CEO Gene Murtagh, have all announced “Net Zero Energy” projects that will harness solar in some way.

These projects have some commonality: they harness energy management systems, storage and often a mix of renewables. Such systems are being called Distributed Energy Resources (DER), and they’re set to power 60 per cent of Australia by 2050.

Here is why solar alone is not enough.

Solar is non-dispatchable energy, so is wasted if not stored

While traditional power sources are dispatchable, and can dish out power whenever needed, the sun’s energy is intermittent and without storage, solar can’t supply electricity on demand.

But it does generate considerable energy supply in the day. Increasingly, more solar electricity is being produced than can be consumed.

So, to gain the most from solar, the business, or industrial operation should capture excess energy with storage, or look at demand response activities to shift loads, or operate when solar is at its peak.

There are three markets that commercial and industrial scale businesses with renewables can operate within, provided they meet certain criteria:

  • Solar feed-in tariffs
  • Renewable energy credits
  • Ancillary market(s)

Solar feed-in tariffs

Historically, solar feed-in tariffs have been influential in getting the residential market on board. But like the residential market, the commercial feed-in tariff rate has reduced from a round 40 cents per every kilowatt hour (kWh) sold back to the grid, to just 8c/ kWh with a standard supply rate of 33.91c/kWh and peak rate around the 50c/kWh mark. The financial incentive to sell solar to the grid has vanished.

Renewable energy credits

Accredited commercial, industrial or utility businesses with surplus renewable energy may be able to sell Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) to coal-fired generators or electricity providers who are required to purchase a set amount under the Renewable Energy Target scheme.

Ancillary markets

If an operation can supply the grid with temporary high bursts of power when it’s needed, you may gain from ancillary markets that have typically been set aside for commercial power generators. The sell back rates are attractive. But solar panels alone don’t entitle you to operate in the market. The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) sets strict performance parameters and requirements including having a control system, high-speed data record, high-speed metering, and telemetry protocols to enable communication between an operation and the utility.

AEMO also says that sophisticated renewable generation like DER systems are enabling more large-scale businesses to join the ancillary market.

Entry into the ancillary markets and the LGC market could yield a healthier return than only opting for solar feed- in. Entry depends on the size and set up of a solar system. Typically, these markets require users to meet high standards of control systems and data for record keeping and communication with the utility. Plus, the way businesses are billed means they get less bang for their buck. In line with the Australian Energy Market Commission regulations, business and residential customers will (or soon will) pay cost- reflective tariffs. This means the way a company is billed reflects the ‘“actual demand” a user puts on the grid not their cumulative usage.

The Actual Demand Charge is usually calculated based on the maximum recorded “demand” or usage in the peak and shoulder periods since the last meter read. The “level of demand” is worked out by how much electricity needed in any one 30-minute interval.

Can solar offset actual demand?

There’s an obvious incentive for businesses to reduce actual demand and level out their load. While solar can offset the amount of grid energy you use, its intermittency can limit the ability to consistently reduce demand.

But control systems and sub metering as part of a DER system can:

a) show users which systems and devices consume the most power.

b) automatically draw from on-site generation units such as solar, generators or stored energy to offset grid demand.

Solar alone cannot reduce demand charges at all times of the day, and year. Some of the answer lies in having a mix of energy generation types on-site and program them to run during energy intensive processes to “shift loads” and offset grid demand charges.

Standard grid connected solar is designed to disconnect from the grid and stop producing energy when the grid goes down. If it remains ‘on’, it’ll feedback power out to the grid – which is highly dangerous for any repair or maintenance works required.

Solar won’t necessarily protect the business from grid instability – businesses should protect themselves from downtime risk with a system that can safety isolate itself (called “islanding”) to keep producing backup electricity during disturbances. DERs and microgrids offer such functionality.

While the return on solar isn’t as clear cut as some might think, there’s enormous opportunity for businesses to take advantage of industrial-solar scale energy generation. It will pay to understand exactly how the market, technology and one’s own sub-systems and electricity contract interplay to impact a user’s energy needs.

The nature of the sun’s intermittency, the feed-in schemes and markets, the grid and billing charges, means that in order to gain the most from solar, control systems, data, telemetry and communication systems and/or other renewables and backup systems may be required.

Doing due diligence will help users make the right decisions to secure the businesses’ energy reliability as other companies move into the market.

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Belden releases new switches for faster data transfer https://pacetoday.com.au/belden-releases-new-switches-faster-data-transfer/ https://pacetoday.com.au/belden-releases-new-switches-faster-data-transfer/#respond Thu, 13 Dec 2018 23:28:41 +0000 http://pacetoday.com.au/?p=47583 US company Belden has released a new version of its Hirschmann brand Layer 3 backbone switches – devices which allow engineers to transfer larger quantities of data faster without compromising network availability or performance. The DRAGON MACH4000/MACH4500 series offer redundant power supplies, new and more advanced interfaces and variants with either four or eight ports … Continue reading Belden releases new switches for faster data transfer

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US company Belden has released a new version of its Hirschmann brand Layer 3 backbone switches – devices which allow engineers to transfer larger quantities of data faster without compromising network availability or performance.

The DRAGON MACH4000/MACH4500 series offer redundant power supplies, new and more advanced interfaces and variants with either four or eight ports that can be set up for 2.5 or 10 Gigabit speeds.

The product features are designed to help engineers in data-rich industrial sectors connect OT and IT networks and progressively transition to 10 gigabit speeds, maximise availability with redundant backbone infrastructures, and transition from 1 gigabit networks to 2.5 and then to 10 gigabits as network bandwidth requirements increase.

Sebastian Preiss, product manager at Belden, said that the update to the MACH4000 switch would help engineers handle evolving data requirements and ensure their networks are performing at the highest level.

“Increasing data density is making it challenging for engineers to get information from the field level to the control room quickly and on time,” Preiss said.

“They need a way to keep up with demand and move larger quantities of data, without compromising reliability or availability.”

The company said the product was best suited for applications that require high bandwidths and reliable data transfer, especially in transportation scenarios, including mass transit systems like railways and train stations, airports and rail-rolling stock. Manufacturing, oil and gas and power transmission and distribution applications would also benefit, it said.

Belden is headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, and has manufacturing capabilities in North and South America, Europe and Asia.

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