Team’s aim is a cleaner, safer supply
A SUSTAINABLE future for the gas and petroleum industries is a crucial part of a new push for stronger ties to industry by the University of Western Australia.
The University has set up a dedicated centre for research and industry liaison in the energy field - known as the Centre for Petroleum, Fuels and Energy.
The centre’s director, Prof Dongke Zhang, who commenced work at UWA in early March, says it is important for industry to consider its future energy needs: Of the total oil we consume ( in Australia), we produce 69- 70 percent. By the year 2030, more than 50 per cent will be imported. This will have a dramatic impact, not only upon the cost, but also energy security.’’
He says the abundance of coal and natural gas in Australia enabled the development of alternative fuels - including converting coal and gas to liquid fuel - to complement the use of petroleum.
The centre will work closely with Tim Shanahan, the former head of the West Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy, who was lured to the University last year to become director of the newly established Energy and Minerals Initiative.
Previously, research in the area was divided into separate fields - through the Schools of Mechanical Engineering and Oil and Gas Engineering.
Professor Brett Kirk, head of the School of Mechanical Engineering, says the centre will help build stronger links to industry.
We have had particular success with Chevron and Woodside over the years, as well as a range of other partners,’’ he says. We are now expanding into biomass and alternative energy sources.
We are looking at minimising CO2 emissions and reduction of greenhouse gases and broadening our clean coal technology.’’
The centre will also examine renewable biofuels, such as bioalcohol and biodiesel.