Energy in focus

Our goal: To bring safe, affordable and sustainable energy to communities in Australia and around the world.

Solar panels in fields

Energy, evolved by nature

We have come a long way since discovering the PERC solar cell in 1983, continuing our research into finding new methods and applications that make renewables more accessible and consumable - for everyone. UNSW has been designing alternative technologies long enough to see them take the lead. From large-scale solar farms to high-rate energy storage systems, these latent innovations now play a vital role in powering the electrification and decarbonisation of our economy.   

The path to realising a balanced energy portfolio starts with harnessing the planet’s diverse and abundant sources of energy. What will be the energy sources that sustain us?  

The PERC solar cell design was developed at UNSW in 1983 and is now found in over 90% of solar panels worldwide. As at 1/1/2024, more than one in three houses in Australia have rooftop solar.

"As Engineers, we are constantly driving to improve the world we live."

Whilst our energy-intensive lifestyles have devastated the planet, the foundation for a clean energy future is being put in place. I am passionate about getting renewable power into the hands of every person and business.

- Scientia Professor and solar pioneer, Martin Green

Our areas of impact

  • Industry-scale silicon solar cells
  • Sustainable minerals and extraction
  • Recycling and reusing energy tech
  • Dispatchable storage and energy sharing
  • Geothermal energy
  • Commercial tool design & development

The Vanadium Redox Flow Battery (VRFB) was invented at UNSW in 1984 and is now being utilised in Australia’s first dispatchable solar power plant at Port Pirie in South Australia for the Spencer Energy Project.

Student voices

“We actually started with a blank sheet of paper and were able to design and build Sunswift 7 from scratch. We’ve engineered everything for this car from the ground up. From the aerodynamic design to the manufacture of bespoke parts, the drivetrain to the control systems and even the software used to run the car.

But building the car is only half the battle. As engineers, we also have to test it, break it, fix it, and then test it again. The team has put everything they have into this project. To see it cross the finish line with a world record was surreal.” 

- Andrea Holden, UNSW Mechanical Engineering Graduate & Team Manager at Sunswift 7 

Research Centres & Institutes

UNSW Engineering is a global leader in research and innovation. It’s in the world-class research and institutes we host and participate in that many of our most innovative energy solutions come to life. These include ARC research hubs, cooperative research centres and other initiatives relating to the energy future. 

Our world-class energy facilities include:

  • Tyree Energy Technologies Building
  • Solar Industrial Research Facility 
  • UNSW Energy Institute

Get in touch and see what’s possible.

Ask how we can help your business, industry, or market through collaboration.