2015 Conference Program

Fri, 2016-02-26 01:16 -- adminssee

Download the conference program here.


Session 1: Energy: Renewables, Grid

Mr. Deane Belfield
Community Renewables – a replicable model

There is a growing level of interest and demand at the community level for taking responsibility for their own energy future. Frustrated by the inertia from Government and regulators and the self-interest of the major energy providers, local and regional some communities are not waiting any longer.

A confluence of circumstances have mobilized to make the vision of 100% clean locally sourced and owned renewable energy provision and distinct possibility.

Regional communities around the nation are starting to mobilise towards locally based responses to climate change, as evidenced by statements of commitment to clean and renewable energy solutions.

Through a confluence of circumstances including lack of leadership around renewable energy policy, rising energy prices and a sense of hopelessness, and a dramatic reduction in solar PV.

Realising that regional communities are often rich in natural energy assets, albeit unharnessed, the Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) has embarked on a ten year pathway toward a zero net emissions vision for the community. This is one of many community base initiatives lead by MASG over recent years, with this having become its flagship project since 2014.

Key to realizing this goal MASG has undertaken a number of actions including:

  • Natural asset mapping to determine the breadth of energy resource within the region, associated costs, GhG emissions reduction, jobs
  • A legal framework for delivering projects that are funded through community funding, private equity and debt finance
  • Building a collaborative approach linking council, community, water authority and business
  • Identifying other parties in Victoria, Australia and internationally that have similar plans
  • Conducting a prefeasibility study on a key industrial precinct, including energy supply and demand curves
  • Developing a model that is replicable, scalable, affordable and sustainable

Much of the work undertaken by MASG has been through skilled volunteers with relevant expertise, assisted by critical philanthropic funding support.

Our goal is to implement a series of landmark projects that move us deliberately and carefully down the renewable energy path and to have this as a full community initiative, with engagement at all levels from the general public, council, business, landholders and Government.

Learnings and methodologies are available to be shared with other communities who may be keen to replicate our achievements in their own way; durable, scalable, flexible.

Our presentation will share our learnings and challenges, embracing the ‘dynamic equilibrium’ of complementary factors that are driving this exciting initiative, showing the ‘circular economy’ in practice.

Mr. Christian Gertig
Case Study for a 100kW Commercial Solar System under different Financing Options in Melbourne, Australia

The Australian commercial solar market is growing and many solar companies are shifting their focus to the increasing market share which in 2015 is expected to reach 20% of the installed solar capacity. With payback times often below five years and the increasing pressure from rising electricity costs, solar panels increasingly become an attractive investment for many businesses with a medium to long-term perspective.

This study investigates the techno-economical performance of a typical 100kW system for a manufacturing site in Melbourne, considering various financing approaches currently available in the market. In particular, lease and loan products as well as one Solar Power Purchase Agreement (SPPA) approach will be compared to the base case of outright purchase together with the sensitivity of the economical performance to different financial parameters.

The advantages and disadvantages of each option are discussed in detail together with the risks and obligations of each party involved.

Key performance indicators such as the Internal Rate of Return (IRR) and the payback period are presented under consideration of boundary aspects such as tax implications of the different approaches, system degradation, the probability of inverter replacement during system lifetime and financing costs.

Finally it is discussed how the split incentive between property owners and tenants can be overcome under the different schemes to provide security and incentives for each party involved.

Mr. Marcus Keller
Bring the Power Back! How distributed energy storage could redefine the balance of power in Australia’s electricity industry.

In 2015 two important market dynamics will collide; battery prices will move to an equilibrium point where consumers can justify defecting from the grid, and banks complete the credit downgrade for those utilities with traditional network portfolios. Combined these dynamics will create the tipping point where utilities move to subsidise non-regulated energy storage assets and actively compete for this privilege with the customer. This shifting of asset focus begs the question; ‘who owns the energy assets’ and ‘what happens when customers take the power back’?

This presentation analyses the economic impact of energy storage on an urban household’s electricity bill and the subsequent strategic benefits ‘intelligent’ energy storage can present to a DNSP. This information has been compiled and presented by an energy storage integrator and offers ‘at the coal face’ insights into the technology available now and over the next 12 months. It includes industry growth rate predictions from some of the Industry’s leading market research houses and analysis of which technology will be most pervasive.

Importantly the presentation addresses the various hypothesis that energy storage can assist Networks evaluate, with a special focus on the new/innovative functional capabilities of the latest distributed energy storage technologies and how this technology can create compelling new business models that will redefine urban living.

The presentation also takes a holistic look at which opportunities may exist for consumers, property developers and businesses to take charge of their electricity expenses and act as ‘Small Embedded Generators’.

CASE STUDY: Key learnings from a recent containerised energy storage trial with Ausgrid in Newington, NSW will be presented. This case study addresses some of the ‘challenges’ of centralised energy storage connections with the grid in particular the use of novel system monitoring between zone substations, kiosks and the storage unit itself.

Mr. Patrick Ubeh Okorie
Modelling Reliability of Distribution Network Fault Diagnostic Tools Using Petri-Nets

Petri Nets (PNs) has become a graphical formalism which is gaining popularity in recent years as a tool for the representation of complex logical interactions among physical components or activities in a electrical power system. This paper is therefore devoted to the development of Petri nets modeling approach with particular emphasis on its application in the area of reliability modeling and analysis of power system. The main aim of this research work presented in this paper is to evaluate and develop a framework for reliability analysis of distribution system modeling and simulation using Petri-Nets. The problem of detecting, isolating and restoring fault events in dynamic systems modeled is considered. A rapid and correct fault diagnosis is very critical in power system network. As the complexity of power system increases, fault diagnosis become very difficult task therefore necessitate the development of PN to anchor onto power system in order to tackle and overcome these situation. This situation has made it necessary to develop intelligent systems to support operators in their decision making process. This research has therefore investigated fault diagnosis of power system by using Petri Nets methodology. Firstly, in this paper, a general literature survey of fault diagnosis in power systems is given. Then, models of fault diagnosis based on PN technique have been developed. A sample power system network which has 2 sources, 4 buses, 10 over current relays, 5 circuit breakers and 2 distribution lines connected loads is used as test network. The modeled network is then simulated with five fault cases. Results of these simulations are given in order of the PN firing sequenceasfollows:M1=(1;0;0;0;0;0;0); M2 =(0;1;0;0;0;0;0); M3 =(0;0;1;1;0;0;0);M4 = (0;0;1;0;1;1;0); M5 =(0;0;1;0;1;0;1)and M6 =(1;0;0;0;0;0;0).Itisshownfromfivecases that the faulted power system elements are diagnosed accurately by using the Petri nets based fault diagnosis models analytical and simulation.

Assoc Prof Pawan Jaglan
Behavioural Study of Indian Thermal Power plants - A Case Study

In this paper Six Sigma and MTBF has been applied to study the overall behaviour of the thermal power plant and to compare the performance of plant in given four years. This paper depicts that the given data follows the 3 long normal plot behaviour and the concept of Six Sigma and reliability are correlated. By using the plots like survival plot, hazard plot, cumulative failure plot, duane plot, event plot and TTT plot, an attempt has been made to predict the life time behaviour of the thermal power plant. This type of study is particularly relevant because today’s competitive environment demands that power plant must reduce the capacity waste to excel the efficiency. More research in this area is still necessary for implementation of Six Sigma or any other process improvement model, to reduce capacity waste, particularly in developing countries like India. MTBF is a measure critical to quality issue in thermal power plant

Session 2: Built Environment

Dr. Md Morshed Alam
Probability of heat wave impact on the occupants of different star rated houses and the benefits of upgrading house star ratings to 6 star: A case study for Victoria

Heat events have killed more people than any other natural hazard experienced in Australia over the past 200 years. In late January 2009, South-eastern Australia was affected by one of the most extreme heat wave which claimed 374 lives. The same region suffered another heat wave on January 2014 which resulted in 167 excess deaths. In the present study, a statistical analysis have been carried out to calculate the distribution of different star rated houses in Victoria and the percentage of people living in different star rated houses. It is then followed by the probability analysis of experiencing heat stress by the occupants of different star rated houses. To calculate the severe heat stress hours inside different star rated houses, a typical single storey Australian house with 232 m2 floor area was modelled using building simulation software EnergyPlus V8.1. Severe heat stress hour inside the house was defined by “Discomfort Index>=28”. “Discomfort index” is the average of dry and wet bulb temperatures inside the house. The results showed that approximately 55% of the total Victorian people lives in a house with star ratings 2 or less. During heat wave, severe heat stress hours inside a lower star rated house were found to be significantly higher than a 6 star rated house. On a typical 2009 heat wave day, the probability of experiencing two severe heat stress hours by the occupants of 1 and 2 star houses is over 95% compared to only 20% in case of 6 star houses. The results also showed that health impact of heat wave can be reduced significantly by upgrading house star rating to 6 star. Finally, cost-benefit analysis showed that upgrading the existing 1 and 2 star houses to 6 star will be highly beneficial with positive net benefit in less than five years.

Ms. Trudi Carter
Balance on a Building Project

Jacobs/Wilkinson Eyre Architects were appointed by the Swinburne University of Technology to design the Advanced Manufacturing Centre on their Hawthorn campus in Melbourne. One of the Client’s key priorities was the incorporation of best practice sustainable design principles, including the achievement of a 5 star Green Star design rating. Another key priority was the maximisation of the space to suit their current requirements, with allowance for future flexibility to cater to their ongoing needs. Some of the constraints on the project were the space constrained brownfields site, available capital works budget, and programme milestones based on their academic calendar.

The project was an exercise in balancing these objectives and constraints. Considered and coordinated design was key to achieving sustainable outcomes. Key focus areas included:

Social – The Victorian façade was retained and the upper floors set back to preserve the character of the neighbourhood. Transparency at street level allows passers-by a view into the innovative workings in the Factory of the Future. Link bridges to the adjacent University buildings improve campus linkages. Structure and services were exposed to allow passive learning to occur.

Energy reduction –The building contains a number of passive features including a central atrium providing day-lighting and stack-ventilation, thermal mass of exposed concrete soffits, and shading at the upper levels to allow daylighting, but reduce solar gains. Low energy systems such as the use of phase change material and a cogeneration system also play a pivotal role in the building services design.

Waste reduction – The retention of the existing façade, judicious use of finishes, maximisation of repetition in the concrete, onsite treatment of contaminated soil and rainwater harvesting all contributed to waste reduction.

The building demonstrates the power of combining age-old, effective design principles with selected technologies to create equilibrium between the Client’s aspirations and project constraints.

Mr. Yale Carden
Thermal sources within the built environment: Optimising building performance using available thermal sources, thermal storage and optimised control strategies.

Heating, cooling and hot water consume approximately 45 % of energy usage within the built environment (Pitt & Sherry, 2012). Traditionally, the thermal source has been either the local ambient air (heating and cooling) or fossil fuels (predominantly heating through combustion).

Limitations with using the local ambient air are the inherent inefficiency of heat transfer using air and the inconvenience of air temperature being coldest when we require the most heat from it and hottest when we wish to reject heat. With respect to fossil fuels, their ongoing combustion poses a future risk associated with resource depletion and carbon dioxide emissions and is well documented.

This paper explores the available thermal potential within the built environment and how the utilisation of this thermal potential can provide efficient heating, cooling and hot water as well as thermal storage. In some instances, this may be the local ambient air, less likely it will be fossil fuels. More likely, it includes the thermal potential within the ground, water bodies and infrastructure such as subways, water, sewer and building foundations as well as artificial thermal storage such as phase change materials.

The key is to identify the optimal thermal sources and storages for a given building at a given location and climate. Then, an integrated approach using optimised control strategies, including predictive capabilities, will enable a building to access these various thermal sources at the thermally optimal time to provide significant energy savings and enhanced operation.

Mr. Robert Enker
The Evolution of Building Energy Standards in Australia: A Journey Interrupted?

In developed economies such as Australia, energy use in buildings is one of the most significant contributors to aggregate greenhouse gas emissions. Of even more significance is the fact that reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the building sector provides a range of social and economic benefits in addition to anticipated environmental benefits. Greenhouse abatement from buildings can potentially be delivered at a negative cost/tonne CO2, compared with significant economic burdens arising from alternative abatement strategies such as carbon capture and storage.

International policy responses to this realization have been evolving and growing in sophistication over the last decade. Options for government interventions in the building market encompass: direct regulation through building codes and mandatory standards; financial incentives or penalties; consumer information campaigns and industry capacity building. All of these policy measures have been adopted in Australia with varying degrees of success and effectiveness.

This paper focuses specifically on the evolution of building energy standards in Australia by following the trajectory of energy efficiency provisions in the National Construction Code. Then the paper moves on to examine the current status and future directions of this key energy policy area. The paper benchmarks Australia’s building energy code against international best practice policy frameworks in European and North American jurisdictions in a critique that identifies improvement opportunities for aspects such as policy implementation, regulatory stringency and enforcement capabilities. The roadmap for a future building code suited to the needs of the emerging Low Carbon Economy is sketched out together with the compatibility of enhanced regulatory intervention with national energy policy initiatives such as the Commonwealth Government’s greenhouse emissions Direct Action Program.

Session 3: Water and Resources

Mr. Paolo Arcidiacono
Super Oxygenated Water (SOW) as sustainable remediation technology

SOW is an emerging groundwater remediation technology that has already been successfully tested and implemented in North America and in Europe.

SOW is injected into the groundwater producing concentrations of up to 50 ppm, which is five times greater than the natural dissolved oxygen concentration of background groundwater levels. This creates a reactive zone with high dissolved O2 concentrations and enough nutrients to degrade hydrocarbons into harmless products.

The SOW technology was applied for the first time in Australia at former service station site in which groundwater was impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons. Those impacts are present in the saturated zone of an unconfined aquifer characterized by the presence of sandy clays and clayey sands. The conditions were considered favourable for the application of SOW.

Prior to the full scale implementation, the SOW technology was tested at the site with the aim to assess the appropriateness of implementing SOW injections as a viable remediation technology

Groundwater is extracted from a bore positioned offsite, to assist hydraulic control of injected SOW and manage remediation of groundwater impacts without altering the vapour risk profile to occupants of the nearby residential properties. The extracted groundwater is treated before being saturated with oxygen and re-injected into the aquifer at four up-gradient locations (northern site boundary) and four down-gradient locations (southern site boundary).


The SOW technology is implemented at the site in a sustainable manner with low power consumption, limited water usage and no requirements for sewer discharge. Groundwater extraction assists with the hydraulic control and a generation of a closed recirculation loop where the local impacted groundwater is used to remediate the site.

Mrs. Megan Holcomb
Building Flood Resilient Communities Sustainably – A systems Approach to delivering levee projects

Flood mitigation projects are not just about changing the conveyance of water. There are many aspects that need to be considered to ensure that the most appropriate solution is found. A balanced solution must benefit the majority of the community while not adversely affecting the environment or opportunities for future generations.

The challenge of these projects is to build resilience in the community while reducing risk of above floor flooding and flood damages/costs. Doing this requires more than construction. It also requires improved awareness and ongoing flood education. Additionally, it requires changes to town planning, so that development does not occur in inappropriate areas where flood risk is high. These challenges can only be met by thinking holistically throughout the projects life cycle: from inception to operation.

Our presentation will focus on the following:

  • An integrated approach. To achieve a balanced and sustainable mitigation solution our approach includes consideration of weighted constraints and opportunities, which include social, environmental, infrastructure, hydraulic values and governance.
  • Community Involvement. These projects have a direct and long lasting effect on the community. As a part of the design process, it is important to recognise and acknowledge the stress that these communities live with. Proposed mitigation solutions must incorporate community knowledge of the floodplain by allowing residents an opportunity to suggest solutions.
  • Opportunities for Improvement. As a result of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 Queensland floods, political pressure for these critical infrastructure projects have been intense over the last 5 years. To better manage future similar projects, sufficient time must be provided for making informed decisions and to undertake rigorous options assessments.
  • Outcomes. Consideration of recently completed mitigation projects: has community flood resilience been holistically improved? Do current guidelines ensure that the mitigation solutions deliver sustainable development?

Mr. Stephen Northey
The Challenges in Estimating the Water Footprint of Mined Commodities

The concept of a ‘water footprint’ has gradually developed over the past decade as an extension to the ‘virtual’ or ‘embodied water’ concept. A ‘water footprint’ estimate attempts to quantify the environmental impacts that arise from the use of water during the manufacture, use or disposal of a product or service. Methodologies for estimating water footprints have been evolving to account for factors such as changes to water quality and the relative scarcity of water in different regions. Recently an international standard (ISO 14046:2014 – Environmental Management – Water footprint – Principles, requirements and guidelines) was developed to provide an over-arching framework for how studies should be conducted and presented.

Despite the progress made by the research community to date, there are still challenges to address to improve the methodology underpinning water footprinting studies, particularly when applied to mined products. The way that mining operations interact with water resources differs significantly from other users, such as agriculture. As an example, mines are often transient in nature. The production only lasts a decade or few decades before the closure, rehabilitation or abandonment of the mine occurs. Following this operation, pit lakes sometimes form, leading to permanent drawdown of the surrounding groundwater levels. Current methodology provides little guidance on how to account for these types of temporal issues when assessing the water footprint of a product.

Key areas that need to be improved for future water footprint estimates of mined commodities include: the spatial resolution of water consumption and availability data, understanding how to model and incorporate long-term changes in hydrology and water quality, and developing consistent geographical and temporal boundaries of assessments. Addressing these issues will enable competing mineral processing technologies, individual mines and commodities to be fairly and consistently benchmarked against each other on the basis of their impact to water resources.

Mr. Michael Spencer
A Collective Action Approach to Water Management

It is often said that most water problems result from someone else’s water solution. One of the key challenges of Integrated Water Resources Management is to see water problems from multiple perspectives and build collaborative action among all relevant stakeholders. Water Stewardship is an example of a collaborative, collective action approach that enables balanced outcomes between economy and ecosystems. It draws on the work of biophysical sciences in identifying shared catchment challenges and it integrates with engineering sciences in driving innovative solutions. At its heart water stewardship is a multi- stakeholder governance system that brings together different perspectives to engage, stimulate and guide collective solutions. This paper will review a number of examples where water stewardship has been and is being applied in Australia and internationally to illustrate the application of good science, good governance, good engineering to achieve balanced solutions that recognise the needs of both economy and ecosystems.

Session 4: Waste and Consumption

Mr. Christopher Gwynne
Construction Spoil Wastes: Overcoming Barriers To Re-Use

This case study demonstrates how sustainable delineation and segregation techniques together with careful planning and execution were successfully applied to overcome logistical, contamination and acid sulfate barriers to spoil re-use. The approach meant that over 90% of approximately 76,000m3 of spoil from the project was suitable for reuse.

The underground busport construction site, adjacent to a long standing rail yard, used careful planning and execution to remediate 10,000m3 of historic fill material, segregate and remove over 3000m3 of peat material to ensure the soil from bulk excavation, which was largely sandy acid sulfate soils, was uncontaminated and suitable for re-use after treatment and validation to neutralise its acidification potential. This approach resulted in a significant reduction in contaminated material requiring off-site disposal, and significant cost savings in the treatment and disposal of the acid sulfate soils. Contaminants of concern included asbestos containing material (ACM), hydrocarbons and potential acid sulfate soils (PASS). The project applied the following approach: (i) grid based delineation of hydrocarbon contamination ‘hotspots’ allowing targeted remediation, (ii) a five stage physical screening process to remove ACM and other rubble, (iii) segregation approach designed to produce material that could be used in the construction phase. (iv) spoil validation approach to ensure materials were suitable for re-use

The segregation approach reduced imported fill volumes, allowed direct reuse of material in the construction phase, as well as off-site re-use when soil was removed as part of tunnelling. The savings to the project were estimated to be of the order several hundred thousand dollars. The project was subject to a third party Contaminated Site Auditor review.

The project demonstrated an effective approach to integrating the experience of construction engineers, environmental consultants, geotechnical engineers and the client requirements to develop a pre-construction methodology; and therefore allowing a smoother and cost effective construction phase.

Mr. Robert Hosking
Beneficial Reuse of Black Sand from a Multi-Metal Recovery Facility

Nyrstar Port Pirie Pty Ltd (Nyrstar) processes concentrates and secondary metal bearing materials to produce market metals. The remaining spent slag is called Black Sand. Nyrstar generates approximately 200,000 tonnes a year of Black Sand and has a stockpile of approximately 6.5 million tonnes. This paper describes the properties of the Black Sand and the potential beneficial reuse options that have been investigated by Nyrstar.

Black Sand is an inert sand that is suitable for a range of beneficial reuse options. It is already being utilised as an Iron source in cement manufacture and has potential for other applications, including: supplementary cementitious material for concrete mixes; geopolymer concrete; sand replacement, and; paver manufacture.

Reuse of Black Sand has potential environmental advantages over extraction of raw materials. Black Sand reuse contributes to Nyrstar’s aim of becoming a zero waste site. It will help to make the metals recovery operation more sustainable and reduce a potential liability for long-term stockpile management. Black Sand could provide the basis for developing alternative technologies, for example geopolymer concrete.

Reuse needs to be conducted in an environmentally responsible way. Barriers to potential reuse include: transport costs, and; lack of technical documentation required by potential users. Rigorous testing is required to ensure that any Black Sand products meet industry and environmental standards. Any products containing Black Sand will need to comply with the industry standards set by the existing producers.

The use of Black Sand is generating value that was not previously recognised. The way that Black Sand is produced could be adjusted to deliver properties that are required by the different users. It may be possible to co-locate a manufacturing process that utilises Black Sand at the Nyrstar site.

Mr. Ian Thomas
Is Vegetable Oil Fuel the Answer? - species, land, and safety considerations

This is the second of three proposed papers. It follows the review of recent research into the use of vegetable oil fuels and the running of an on-road trial using a blend of waste vegetable oil and diesel fuel described in the first paper.

Current vegetable oil based fuels such as straight vegetable oil (SVO), transesterified vegetable oil (biodiesel) and hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO) use food oil species exclusively and therefore threaten availability of food oils and the availability of high-grade agricultural land required for food production. Therefore we address the question of whether there are sufficient non-food oil-producing species to cause vegetable oil to become a serious alternative to current fuels and other fuels being evaluated. We consider whether there is sufficient land available to grow fuel crops as well as food. Finally we quantify the potential life-saving using straight vegetable oils in lieu of more volatile fuels. The latter benefit alone is believed sufficient to give vegetable oil fuels a much higher profile than is presently the case.

204 non-food species are described. 34 of these are arid-area growing, 18 are salt tolerant and nine of these species are both salt tolerant and arid-area growing. This enables consideration to use deserts, semi-deserts salt-affected land and land-sea margins to grow these species without adversely affecting food production. There is however, only enough land available presently to grow 16% of the demand if biofuels were to completely replace all existing and alternative fuel types. Furthermore, many of the ‘available’ land-sea margins are strictly controlled wetlands. This necessitates further, broader consideration of means to ensure our energy needs into the future.

Mr. Harrison Wall
Scaling investigation on self sustaining smouldering of faeces

The lack of adequate sanitation infrastructure within developing countries enables the transport of faecal matter containing harmful pathogenic compounds into the drinking water sources. The principal consequence of the pathogenic pollutant is 2.5 million preventable annual deaths. The utilisation of self-sustaining smouldering for the treatment of faecal matter mixed with sand is proposed as a solution as the high temperatures achieved ensure the destruction of the pathogens. Sand is used because it is low cost and it has been identified as an effective agent for increasing the porosity of fuels for application of smouldering treatments.

Previous studies have shown the sustainability of smouldering combustion to be dependent upon experimental parameters such as moisture content, relative amount of sand and the airflow rate. In this work, we present the results of smouldering combustion experiments that were carried out to determine the sensitivity of the smouldering velocity to those experimental parameters. Additionally, to investigate the practicalities of implementation, experiments were conducted using four cylindrical reactors with varying size. To avoid variability, surrogate faeces which exhibits similar energetic, thermal, and mechanical properties to real faeces, are used in this study.

Results showed moisture content is a critical parameter to control the sustainability of the process; however, it has no effect on the smouldering velocity under robust conditions. The smouldering velocity showed a linear relationship with the air velocity and the faeces-to-sand mass ratio. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that these relationships are independent of scale. These results can be used to determine the reactor size and experimental conditions needed for real conditions (e.g. to treat faeces of 10 - 300 people per day). This process can be expanded to other types of waste; such as kitchen or agricultural waste which could enable the implementation of an integrated waste treatment technology.

Session 5: Built Environment

Dr. Leighton Cochran
On Wind Load Reduction: Solar Arrays in the Field and Building Roofs

Since the late 1970s many of the large wind-engineering research and consulting facilities have explored design wind loads for flat-plate photovoltaic arrays, concentrator photovoltaic arrays, thermal troughs, reflective heliostats and parabolic dish collectors in their boundary-layer wind tunnels. Many of the early studies focused on large fields of these solar elements, but in more recent times much of the work has been directed at architectural applications. The goal has typically been to understand, and then reduce, the design wind loads via various aerodynamic appurtenances such as solid or porous perimeter fences, array staggering, and edge separation control. Techniques used have been either simultaneous pressures or the high-frequency balance. As the cost of the various energy generating systems have reduced in the last forty years the relative cost of the footings and structural system supporting the solar technologies has increased. The traditional method a structural engineer uses to obtain design wind loads for any design is the local wind code. However, even in 2015, none of the major wind standards (AS/NZS1170.2, ASCE7-10, Eurocode) give any useful advice for the shapes common in the solar industry, whether as lone structure or part of a field of identical arrays. Future wind-load standards will be inserting selected research from the last few decades and providing wind loads for select flat-plate geometries, but recourse to the wind tunnel is still the preferred methodology. Results will be presented from wind-tunnel studies of concentrator PV arrays in the 1980s, through trough studies in the 1990s, to recent (2014) rooftop studies for low-slope PV designs destined for tropical latitudes. There will also be some discussion of technical advances in performing these studies (multi-pressure systems, stereolithography, etc.) and, depending on space availability, useful references of published work in the public domain.

Mr. Ben Gibbs
Benefits of Energy and Thermal Modelling during a Building’s Conceptual Design Stage

Computer modelling has been a powerful tool in the design and construction of buildings for many years. It is commonly used in the structural and services design of a building to calculate a number of different variables including shear loads, air velocities and lighting levels. With sustainability becoming an increasing important component in building design, energy and thermal modelling is also being used to improve the sustainable performance of a building. This can be done through a number of different metrics including improving energy efficiency, incorporating passive design features, providing renewable energy generation and increasing occupant thermal comfort.

To achieve the greatest impact on sustainable performance, it is important that modelling starts as early as possible during the design stage of a project. Based on experience from a number of projects there has been a varying level of success in implementing the recommendations and outcomes of computer modelling that would ultimately improve the sustainable performance of the building. Where modelling was started during the conceptual design phase, the outputs had a much greater chance of being integrated into the building design due to the increased design freedom and flexibility. Once a project progressed to the detailed design stage, the likelihood of changing the building to increase its sustainable performance substantially decreased.

The following sustainable design objectives have been successfully implemented on a number of buildings as a result of completing energy and thermal modelling during the conceptual design phase:

  • Improving energy efficiency and reducing the size of mechanical plant by optimising external shading elements
  • Reducing project costs by only including shading elements to critical areas
  • Improving internal occupant comfort by ensuring adequate air flow to particular areas
  • Providing effective passive design features including high performance glazing, thermal mass and solar shading

Mr. Christian Gertig
Techno-economical Life-Cycle Assessment of Passive Housing with Cross- Laminated Timber (CLT) compared to conventional Building Practice

Sustainable urban design is the creation of living spaces which have low environmental impacts and are economically feasible. For this purpose a design is proposed which incorporates sustainable principles into a low energy dwelling suitable for an average Australian family. The proposed sustainable design utilises innovative building materials and glazing systems as part of the building shell to enhance thermal performance.

The use of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) as the shell of the sustainable residential building is compared to the use of conventional brick veneer construction. The CLT structure has numerous advantages in terms of construction time and labour intensity. Lightweight construction utilising CLT can reduce the construction time to up to 5 days. The evaluation criteria in this study include the,construction time and labour intensity as well as financial performance in a life cycle assessment. Both designs are modelled using the FirstRate 5 house energy rating tool. The life cycle of materials are evaluated using the global warming potential in line with ISO14025.

The life cycle assessment shows that the building which utilises CLT removes 11,123 kg CO2 equivalent from the atmosphere. The conventional brick veneer design produced 65,307 kg CO2 equivalent over its entire life cycle. The proposed sustainable design achieves a star rating of 7.9 and reduces the space conditioning requirements by 51% compared with the conventional design.

Limitations to sustainable design are mainly financial barriers. The investment for the sustainable design is estimated to be 31% higher than the conventional design. The main costs incurred in the sustainable design resulted from shipping CLT from the manufacturer in Germany which could be reduced by producing the material locally. Further investigation was conducted into incorporating renewable energy and rainwater collection systems into the sustainable design for further environmental and cost savings.

Session 6: Strategy and Leadership

Mr. Peter wells
Creating compelling narratives to drive change

It is no secret. To drive change leaders must create a compelling narrative. Storytelling, both written and verbal, is an integral part of human relationship and culture. Authentic storytelling is, for the most part a learned skill. If engineers want to drive change toward a sustainable future, they must first understand the place of the story; the ways narratives are communicated in today’s world; and finally the techniques and skills required to create an authentic narrative frame work.

Cognitive psychology suggests that our internal thinking and instinctive decision making is informed by our internal script. Sociology tells us a person’s internal script is informed by dominant stories within that person’s reference group, though it can also be argued there is a tendency toward a single dominant story across a diverse society. Ironically, a storyteller may need to practice empathetic listening before framing their narrative; else their story may not be received as authentic. The storyteller may also need to expand their own reference group, across disciplines and socio-economic boundaries.

While much attention is paid to developments in social media, framing an authentic narrative is more complex. While social media should be utilised, as well as traditional media, the author should also consider ways to influence the ‘small talk arena’ within a given reference group. This may include the written word in a longer form, such as a blog or a magazine article; and is also likely to include verbal storytelling.

Effective leaders must develop their verbal storytelling skills. The storyteller must understand the elements of a story and the skills required to tell the story in an engaging way – establishing credibility and common ground. Rhetorical techniques and even stage-craft must be understood and effectively employed.

Mr. Deane Belfield
Community Renewables – a replicable model

There is a growing level of interest and demand at the community level for taking responsibility for their own energy future. Frustrated by the inertia from Government and regulators and the self-interest of the major energy providers, local and regional some communities are not waiting any longer.

A confluence of circumstances have mobilized to make the vision of 100% clean locally sourced and owned renewable energy provision and distinct possibility.

Regional communities around the nation are starting to mobilise towards locally based responses to climate change, as evidenced by statements of commitment to clean and renewable energy solutions.

Through a confluence of circumstances including lack of leadership around renewable energy policy, rising energy prices and a sense of hopelessness, and a dramatic reduction in solar PV.

Realising that regional communities are often rich in natural energy assets, albeit unharnessed, the Mt Alexander Sustainability Group (MASG) has embarked on a ten year pathway toward a zero net emissions vision for the community. This is one of many community base initiatives lead by MASG over recent years, with this having become its flagship project since 2014.

Key to realizing this goal MASG has undertaken a number of actions including:

  • Natural asset mapping to determine the breadth of energy resource within the region, associated costs, GhG emissions reduction, jobs
  • A legal framework for delivering projects that are funded through community funding, private equity and debt finance
  • Building a collaborative approach linking council, community, water authority and business
  • Identifying other parties in Victoria, Australia and internationally that have similar plans
  • Conducting a prefeasibility study on a key industrial precinct, including energy supply and demand curves
  • Developing a model that is replicable, scalable, affordable and sustainable

Much of the work undertaken by MASG has been through skilled volunteers with relevant expertise, assisted by critical philanthropic funding support.

Our goal is to implement a series of landmark projects that move us deliberately and carefully down the renewable energy path and to have this as a full community initiative, with engagement at all levels from the general public, council, business, landholders and Government.

Learnings and methodologies are available to be shared with other communities who may be keen to replicate our achievements in their own way; durable, scalable, flexible.

Our presentation will share our learnings and challenges, embracing the ‘dynamic equilibrium’ of complementary factors that are driving this exciting initiative.

Mr. Neil Greet
Changing Australia’s View of Energy Security Will Provide for Interconnected Energy Policy and a Sustainable Future

Australia defines energy security too narrowly on economic harm which is risk managed through the market, and gives insufficient attention to the fact that energy security is a multi-dimensional concept intertwined across the social, political, economic and environmental spectrum. Energy security comes from diverse portfolio management of energy sectors and does not seek a ‘silver bullet’ by preferential investment in an industry to the exclusion of other sources of energy.

Uncertainty in the Australian energy futures is one of the many reasons why Australia needs to ensure that resilience and security are core components of our national energy and infrastructure strategy. This is a policy consideration that must involve coordination across sector, portfolio and jurisdictional lines ensuring that there is no unintended consequences which unnecessarily increase vulnerabilities, threats and risks to Australia’s energy security.

Consideration of sustainable development and environmental security as critical components of wider security issues will lead to a changed emphasis in energy and environmental policy. The key sources of energy insecurity in terms of sustainable development and environmental security that arise are:

  • Global damage to the biosphere due to greenhouse gas emissions,
  • Increase in water consumed in extracting and transforming energy,
  • Environmental damage caused by the extraction of oil and gas, and
  • Coupling of economic growth and energy consumption.

The wider interconnected view of energy security will bring increased innovation. Innovation is declining because of stovepiped contests between energy sectors which is reflected in the slowing of investment in alternative energy sources, smart grids, energy storage, ocean energy and smart cities. The lack of an innovation culture and decreasing investment in energy research and development reduces the potential for major advances in energy security. This will affect our future national security.

Prof. Sir Leslie H Pyke
Concepts of sustainability and analyses futures for this important emerging science

This paper examines the concepts of sustainability and analyses futures for this important emerging science. Applications of sustainability considerations to various societal scenes, including the uses of energy, the processing of resources, the recycling of residues, the designs and operations of infrastructures are presented, in backgrounds of the structures of various societies.

Conclusions show that it is important that sustainability concepts be presented in simple numbers formats, so that appropriate social mathematic models can demonstrate the advantages of using sustainability as economic and psychological aims.

Examples of trends analyses, benefits/costs ratios, econometric presentations, regional designs and input/output matrices are given to show how to effectively communicate the needs for sustainability and thrivability to the future communities of our world and to lead the management of our futures.

Mr. Ian Craig
What Sustainable Engineering Subjects Should Be Taught At University?

The goal of this paper is to suggest the relevant subjects that might be taught to engineering students, who choose to major in Environmental or Sustainable Engineering. The aim is to stimulate and encourage discussion across universities, hopefully leading to increased uniformity of delivery in this new important area. It is also anticipated that the paper will assist in keeping Sustainable Engineering education up to date with latest opinions and findings from industry and governmental research authorities.

As a first cut, specialist subjects might include i) Energy and Climate, ii) Air/Noise, iii) Mining Land Rehabilitation, iv) Green construction v) Waste vi) Water Quality vii) Water Quantity viii) Soil Science/Agriculture and ix) Sustainability. Previous approaches to delivery of these subjects has included directing the student to multiple textbooks, and referring them to specific materials from international peer reviewed publications and world recognised body websites including UN/UNESCO, IPCC and IEA. It is now recognised that on the internet there is also considerable collection of excellent quality documentary material available covering many of these areas. Available on websites such as YouTube and Vimeo, are several (usually) one hour long scientific documentaries, that are (generally) produced to high standard by the BBC/Open University UK and the American PBS.

Discussion should take place amongst colleagues and across universities, as to which of the internet available documentaries should be made available to Sustainable Engineering students as ‘standard fare’. Of course, the tradition of extensive reading and study from key textbooks, for example, Introduction to Environmental Engineering by Davis and Cornwell 2013, now in its 5th edition, needs to be strongly maintained.

Mr. Ross Davies
Sustainable Product Choice

Making the right product choice is increasingly important to engineering projects to ensure sustainable footprints for structures and transparency of product manufacture and sourcing. This presentation will explain the applicability of different Ecolabels for construction products recent developments in the drivers for use of the labels and emerging schemes.

Supply chain risk and liability issues have focused discussions of what sustainability tools are available, green guides, LCA, EPD’s, product rating tools, to mitigate these issues.

There is general confusion about what is the ‘best’ approach, who to trust, what standard to look for and in this dynamic and changing area with new processes and standards emerging how do we identify a sound approach that minimises these issues.

The presentation illustrates the way the steel and the building products industries are addressing these issues and what learning’s and guidance can be given to engineers to ensure a credible choice is made.

In particular:
Ecolabeling strategy - LCI/LCA/Type 1 Ecolabels/EPD’s and Stewardship Schemes
Use of EPD’s – what to watch out for, types of EPD, what constitutes a ‘good’ EPD. Stewardship Schemes – Environment, Social and Economic focus across supply chains. Natural Capital – the new frontier

There is no ‘one answer fits all’ and engineers will gain an understanding from this presentation of the limits of various approaches and applying the appropriate regime for the specific project type and desired project outcomes.

Session 7: Energy, Efficiency, and HVAC

Mr. Tim Edwards
Energy Efficiency in HVACR – The Phase Down & Out of Synthetic Refrigerants

The ARA is a not for profit industry association in the HVACR industry that addresses all sectors and advocates for commercially and environmentally preferable technology. The paper will be presented by internationally renowned HVACR consulting engineers.

The paper will describe how global agreement for the phase down of HFC and phase out of HCFC refrigerants will enable dramatic improvements in HVACR energy efficiency and emissions reduction. We will list the factors that are driving this global agreement including development of the Montreal Protocol and the work being done by UNEP and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition.

We will describe how these developments will impact all sectors in the HVACR industry and why the Australian engineering industry needs to embrace the opportunity.

We will explain why and how integrated HVACR energy efficiency engineering (IEEE) has the potential to reduce the cost of HVACR services in Australia by $10B PA and reduce national CO2e emissions by 7%. We will describe the range of innovative technologies that are contributing to IEEE and how they can be used to optimize energy efficiency in residential, commercial and industrial HVACR.

We will specify the energy savings available by source and highlight those technologies that are central to enabling Australia to remain on the leading edge of HVACR innovation; in the national interest and in the interest of key stakeholders.

We will also describe the structure of the HVACR industry from a regulation, design, specification and contractor perspective to highlight the need for greater understanding of these developments throughout the HVACR supply chain. There is an enormous educational program to enable all participants to capitalize on the opportunity.

We will conclude with a call to action for the engineering industry to lead transition of the HVACR industry to high energy efficiency and low emissions.

Ms. Marie Mickalova
Efficient power generation

We could achieve far greater efficiency on our distributed power generation; the solutions are not only related to costs, lower fuel consumption, but also to lowering the emissions. Very often the solution is simple and easy to achieve. Whilst the best time to implement these is through the design and planning stage, some of the steps can be applied during the operational phase of the power station. Surprisingly the upfront cost can be insignificant to overall project cost and return on investment can be as low as one year. What is out laid in CAPEX is made back through reduced cost of OPEX.

The topics to be presented are related to three subjects, which could be treated as independent steps leading towards more efficient energy production. The first of those steps is as simple as having a suitably comprehensive power management system for the power station. Secondly the paper will also address new trends of bi-fuel operation using a mixture of diesel and gas and thirdly the integration of renewable energy within the existing system.

All these aspects have a direct impact on the required maintenance and contribute to reduced operational costs and running efficiency.

Dr. Davide Ross
Energy savings obtained using an online automatic tube cleaning system

The successful operation of water-cooled HVAC chillers require controlling the growth of biofilm and deposition of scale on the internal tubes of heat exchange surfaces. This reduces heat transfer efficiency and subsequently increases chiller work loads and energy consumption. Despite the extensive literature on this subject, there is low adoption of non-chemical cleaning techniques to reduce fouling in Australia. This paper presents four case studies of energy savings obtained using a sponge ball Automatic Tube Cleaning System (ATCS). By using hydro mechanical principals, the system circulates sponge balls through the condenser water tubes in preset 30-minute intervals. A comparison of chiller performance before and after ATCS installation has shown a minimum 24.5% reduction in electrical energy consumption of the chillers, consistent with literature findings.

Prof. James Trevelyan
Sustainable air conditioning for everyone

Case studies in sustainable design from the third world that involve attractive commercial opportunities are relatively rare. This paper presents a case study that demonstrates the potential for sustainable air conditioning technology driven by strong commercial interest. Air conditioning brought one of the largest improvements in productivity in the USA. However, extending conventional air conditioning technology for most people living in hot and humid climates poses insurmountable sustainability challenges. The vast majority of third world inhabitants live and work in buildings that do not have effective insulation. Conventional air conditioning in such locations requires far more energy than the world can feasibly provide within reasonable resource limits and the cost is unaffordable for most of the people who could benefit from it. This paper describes how a small portable air conditioner can provide personal comfort for one or two people using only 270-330 Watts of power, 75%-85% less than the power of a conventional room air conditioner. With such low power consumption, this technology could conceivably provide air conditioned comfort for everyone living in hot and humid climates without requiring large increases in electric energy production. It runs conveniently from solar energy or a battery backup power supply when grid power is not available. New storage technologies could provide affordable off-grid solutions using solar power. The cooling unit exploits localised cooling technology that focuses the cooling effect only where it is needed, on just the face and upper body of a user. It is not necessary to cool a whole room. For night time use, the air conditioner is used with a specially designed fabric enclosure to retain a layer of cool dehumidified air above a bed. The enclosure provides a comfortable sleeping environment for one or two people, also keeping biting insects away at the same time.

Mr. Kanwarjeet Singh Ghumman
Development of a low cost Stirling cycle based engine to produce power in remote areas.

This research aims at designing a heat engine to generate electricity from cooking fire in remote and rural areas. Though solutions to the lack of electric energy in remote areas have been proposed, such as PV cells and wind power plants, but their cost reduces their practicality for home use.

No matter how secluded a region is. If people live there, they use fire to cook food. The heat generated by cooking fire is utilised to create the temperature difference required for the working of stirling cycle. The engine is designed to be put close to the fire, from where it extracts heat. Generated mechanical energy is stored in a flywheel before conversion to electricity with the help of alternators, and is stored in batteries.

This paper covers the study of a few design techniques used in the fabrication of a portable, compact and durable unit for easy deployment. For simulation of the working conditions, a polytropic thermodynamic model is used. Various design parameters like length to diameter ratio of working cylinders, dead volumes and regenerators are taken into account along with material considerations to make a robust device at the lowest possible price. Finally, a prototype is successfully made costing under 80$ and able to produce a minimum of 100w of power.

In conclusion, the paper discusses the practical aspects of the stirling cycle and the methods and materials used to fabricate a heat engine to convert heat from cooking fire to electricity in rural and remote areas.

Mr. Patrick Ubeh Okorie
Evaluation of Outages in Power Distribution Systems of Kaduna and Kano State of Northern Nigeria Network

Some evaluation techniques for distributed systems are presented. We focus on the performance evaluation of system network connected 33kV event. An application of the results to the evaluation of a Kaduna and Kano system network is proposed. Keeping a log of outages in distribution system is very important for the utilities to compute reliability indices and for developing operation and maintenance strategies to improve system performance. An evaluation of outage data gathered by utilities in Kaduna and Kano State of Distribution Networks of Power Holding Company of Nigeria PLC for the power distribution system is presented in this paper. Causes of outages are analyzed to determine the most significant causes. Trend in outages in different months of the year is examined. The reliability assessment is done only on 33kV system to assess the system performance of the present system. The results show that the environmental factors cause more than 50% of the outages on distribution lines.