Materials science in the new energy sector

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Materials science in the new energy sector

11 June, 2020

Just TransitionsIn May, the Government hosted the Just Transition summit in Taranaki, a nationwide summit on preparing to thrive in a low emissions economy. The Prime Minister announced funding to establish a National New Energy Development Centre in Taranaki, along with a new strategic investment in clean energy research.

The summit featured an inspiring range of local and international speakers. We were invited to highlight emerging material science technologies, including MOFs, mixed matrix membranes, a flow battery, and luminescent solar concentrators.

Following on from the Just Transition summit, a team of MacDiarmid Institute researchers visited Venture Taranaki in September to discuss economic opportunities of new materials research into decarbonisation and sustainability and other ongoing opportunities with the National New Energy Development Centre (NNEDC) and Venture Taranaki.

The NNEDC has appointed MacDiarmid Institute Co-Director Professor Justin Hodgkiss to its Steering Committee, and Deputy Director Associate Professor Geoff Willmott to its Advisory Committee.

The Taranaki region has identified the ‘Just Transition’ as a way to support people in the oil and gas industry to move into new areas of employment while maintaining their strong engineering and technical services capabilities e.g. developing hydrogen infrastructure for NZ.

The Hydrogen roadmap report released by Venture Taranaki identifies numerous opportunities for materials science to contribute to new national infrastructure developments. Our researchers have had follow up meetings with the region’s engineering companies and continue to pursue commercial and research partnerships.

Our engagement with the hydrogen economy is just one aspect of a wider range of work with NZ sustainability start- ups (Avertana, Mint, Aquafortus) through Interface and with renewable energy sector (Mercury, Infratec, Hiringa).

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Professors Sally Brooker and Justin Hodgkiss (right) presenting to Venture Taranaki.