University Of New South Wales: UNSW announced as home for NSW’s decarbonisation hub

UNSW Sydney will advance research, development, and collaboration in critical areas of emissions reductions as the lead academic partner of an innovation hub central to the NSW government’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

UNSW has been selected as academic lead – alongside University of Newcastle – and headquarters for the $15 million NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Hub. The Hub is a key part of the NSW government’s Net Zero Industry and Innovation Program and will bring together government, industry, and researchers to fast-track technologies to decarbonise NSW. The project is funded by a grant from the NSW Environmental Trust, with significant industry and university partner co-contributions.  

Vice-Chancellor and President of UNSW, Professor Attila Brungs, said the University’s selection is a testament to the researchers and academics dedicated to securing a more livable world. 

“UNSW’s selection to lead the new Decarbonisation Innovation Hub in NSW reflects our vision of being a catalyst for an environmentally sustainable future through collaborative research, partnership and innovation,” Professor Brungs said.  

“The opportunity to slow down the existential threat of climate change is shrinking, and we need to act now. The Hub will enable world class researchers to work together in tackling these threats, providing concrete solutions, and developing technologies that will be used not only in NSW but across the world.” 

UNSW will lead a consortium of partners including co-lead University of Newcastle, University of Wollongong, Western Sydney University, University of Technology Sydney, Charles Sturt University, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and Climate-KIC.  
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UNSW Scientia Professor Deo Prasad, who will serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Hub, said the project is an example of UNSW’s focus on interdisciplinary innovation and research with impact. 

“The new Hub will showcase UNSW’s world-class capabilities in decarbonisation and serve as a centrepiece for our work in this area,” Professor Prasad said. “Not only will it meet key metrics in decarbonisation, but there is also enormous potential in the job creation and capacity building we can achieve.” 

While the Hub will be based at UNSW and involve researchers from the faculties of Art, Design & Architecture, Engineering and Science, activities will take place across the state with partners operating under three networks: 
Electrification and Energy Systems – led by UNSW Engineering Professor John Fletcher, to accelerate renewable energy solutions and support the uptake of electrification in other sectors. 
Land and Primary Industries – led by WSU Professor Benjamin Smith to coordinate and align efforts in the next wave of sustainable primary industry practices. The sector is a significant contributor to NSW’s emissions. 
Power Fuels including Hydrogen – led by UNSW Engineering Scientia Professor Rose Amal, to grow a sustainable NSW hydrogen industry and unlock decarbonisation opportunities for many hard-to-abate sectors beyond 2030. 
NSW Treasurer and Minister for Energy Matt Kean said the Hub is a key part of the NSW government’s goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

“As action on climate change grows internationally, there will be significant demand for new decarbonisation technologies with huge investment opportunities,” Mr. Kean said.  “NSW is taking the lead by coordinating efforts across our research, development, and commercialisation sectors. This will help us create new jobs and high-tech businesses, while developing expertise in emission reduction technology.” 

The Office of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer will oversee the Hub’s work, with its hosts and partners including researchers in decarbonisation technologies across several sectors.