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UNSW Sydney Thinking Ahead on Smart Cities

"The potential benefits are endless": Professor Joe Dong, Director of the UNSW Digital Futures Grid Institute, at the event.
"The potential benefits are endless": Professor Joe Dong, Director of the UNSW Digital Futures Grid Institute, at the event.


UNSW Sydney Thinking Ahead on Smart Cities


Taking a step closer to building a smart city with power system enhanced by AI and hydrogen storage UNSW Sydney is pursuing new partnerships to make smart cities and hybrid energy storage systems to power them a reality.

UNSW Newsroom reported that in a deal announced at an event at the University this week UNSW Sydney will lead Australia’s first fully integrated smart city trial in partnership with Providence Asset Group (PAG) and Tamworth City Council,.

The trial will be the first based on Internet of Things (IoT) technologies and include applications across transport, energy, health, telecommunications and other community services. Professor Joe Dong, Director of the UNSW Digital Futures Grid Institute leading the research at UNSW and said the aim for the Tamworth Smart City project was to build the IT systems that would monitor and control data flowing through “smart” services, using the wireless network.

Existing IoT infrastructure could provide seamless integration of IoT devices, from home appliances and utility monitors to council services such as waste management, lighting and parking, and asset security, to health services like remote patient monitoring.

“Imagine having an app on your computer or phone that gives you your electricity usage and cost information in real time, and also tells you how some slight change of usage pattern of appliances such as the washing machine could most effectively save electricity bills,” Professor Dong said. “You could have other apps on the smart network for a variety of purposes – such as wearable health monitors that alert your medical practitioners should you need to go and see them or live transport and traffic monitoring to give you alternative routes as soon as a hazard occurs.

Highlighting the potential for university and industry collaboration to bring new technologies and products to market Providence Asset Group CEO Henry Sun said, “We are delighted to be recognised by UNSW and for their strong support. Providence realises Australia has global leading universities and talents. We want to bridge them with industry. On the other side, we are collaborating with world class partners in the renewable field such as Risen Energy and Sungrow Power.”

UNSW is involved in developing several green solutions by harnessing natural energy sources in Australia.

UNSW also announced its involvement in developing Australia’s first large-scale hybrid energy storage system – using lithium batteries and hydrogen fuel cells – to be installed at a $200m solar farm to be built by Providence Asset Group and Risen Energy Group in south-east Queensland. The system will be designed to store surplus electricity generated at the farm and then discharge it when required.

UNSW Scientia Professor and renowned chemical engineer Professor Rose Amal said, “The Australian Renewable Energy Agency hydrogen could annual contribute $1.7 billion annually to the Australian economy by 2030, driven domestically and by demand for sustainable green hydrogen in Japan, South Korea, China and Europe,” adding , “Australia has plenty of sunshine and we lead the world in solar technology. The use of hydrogen technology to store renewable energy at this solar farm is just one opportunity for Australia in the global hydrogen market.”

Professor Nicholas Fisk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research at UNSW, said, “UNSW Sydney is already a world leader in renewable energy research. But the challenge to efficiently, stably and affordably generate, store and distribute sustainable electric power for all Australians in future cannot be achieved without significant investment and the contributions of our partner organisations. I am very proud of UNSW’s involvement in these endeavours and extremely grateful to all involved.”

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Cite this article as: Vidi Nene, "UNSW Sydney Thinking Ahead on Smart Cities," in, April 11, 2019,

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