Australia Vanadium Redox
Image credit: Stock

UK energy storage company redT has switched on a 1MW facility at Australia’s largest university – marking the country’s largest behind-the-meter commercial and industrial installation to date.

The storage solution at Monash University’s Clayton Campus is intended to balance renewable energy supply for tens of thousands of daily visitors.

This article was originally published in Smart Energy International 3-2019. Read the full digimag here or subscribe to receive a print copy here.

“Our partnership with Monash University demonstrates the economic benefits of decentralised, flexible, energy storage infrastructure solutions at commercial and industrial scale,” said redT chief executive Scott McGregor.

The Biomedical Teaching and Learning Building at Monash University contains Australia’s largest commercial behind-the-meter
battery storage system, opening the path to the building becoming 100% energy efficient. The project is the award-winning centrepiece of Monash’s industry-leading $135 million shift to net-zero emissions and 100% renewables.

“To be doing so in Australia – a key territory with an abundance of solar potential and increasingly decentralised energy network – shows how technology can unlock cheap, reliable, renewable energy generation on a global scale.”
Australia added more stored power capacity than any other nation in 2017 – 246MW – boosted by high retail electricity rates, while the UK topped European installations in the same year with 117MW capacity and looks set to follow Australia’s lead.

redT’s energy storage machines at Monash University use patented vanadium redox flow technology, a form of liquid energy storage originally invented in Australia in 1985.
The storage machines, situated on the roof of the university’s new Biomedical Learning and Teaching Building, couples redT’s own vanadium redox flow technology with conventional lithium-ion batteries as part of a ‘hybrid’ system.

Monash is the first Australian university to commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Scott Ferraro, director of the Net Zero Initiative at the university, said the storage solution “is one of the core components of the microgrid being developed as part of our Net Zero Initiative, enabling us to dispatch renewable energy more effectively across the campus and help achieve our goal of net zero emissions by 2030”.
Clayton Campus sees an average of 55,000 visitors per day with energy needs equivalent to those of a small town, much of which is supplied by the university’s own 4MW solar park.

Net Zero in action

Monash University has a goal of net zero carbon emissions byThe goal is that all buildings and operations will only be powered by renewable energy sources.

Here are some of the ways it plans on doing it:

• Reducing energy consumption by converting more than 68,000
light fittings to LED; improving insulation and sealing of buildings
and upgrading more than 150 boilers and chillers to electric superefficient
heat pumps.

• Generating and buying renewable energy by building Australia’s largest urban solar farm, turning every practical rooftop and carpark on the campuses into a solar power generator and purchasing 100% of its energy from renewable sources.

• Innovative energy storage and renewable energy usage by building an on-site microgrid at the University’s Clayton Campus, reducing energy demand and creating an energy innovation ecosystem within the Clayton Innovation Precinct.