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Hunter innovators’ projects among CSIRO’s top contenders

Thinking outside the box: Joss Kesby, Gavin Cross and Donovan Jones, who said his team’s project “allows users to be fully engaged and immereses them in situations we can’t create in real life”. Picture: Simone De PeakA new forecasting system that will allow hybrid power stations to reduce their use of diesel – and could save the world $7.25 billion over the next seven years – is one of three Hunter projects being celebrated for its innovation.

A trio of homegrown science and technology research teams have made it into the final 10 of CSIRO’s ON Accelerate program, which has included three months ofcoaching in business and entrepreneurial skills to help bring their ideas from the laboratory tomarket.

Their participationwill peakon April 19, when they present their projectsto potential investors, industry collaborators, entrepreneurs and research peers.

CSIRO Energy Centre Mayfield product development manager Gavin Cross said his team’sCloud180CAMaimed to tackle the problem of cloud cover adversely impacting the ability of solar fields to produce energy.

“Diesel generators at hybrid power stations across Australia, nearby islands and even Hawaii have to run 100 per cent of the time even when there areblue skies just in case a cloud moves in, so they can continue to supply electricity needed on site,” he said.

“The Cloud180CAM will provide a highly accurate forecast to the power station controller 30 minutes ahead–and updateevery 10 seconds–to tell the station that cloud is coming and to start the diesel generators at a certain point.They can then turn off and turn on the generators when required.

“This will unlock the full potential of the solar farm and the hybrid power station and reduce the amount of diesel used on site by a minimum of 20 per cent.”

Mr Cross said this could save $7.25 billion in diesel across the globe between now and 2025, as well as reduce emissions.

He said the technology could also be used on grid connected solar systems of all sizes and a national network of sensors couldprovide forecasts intosmart homes of the future.

Diffuse Energy founder and managing director Joss Kesby will present his team’s idea, asmall wind turbine that canproduce nearly twice the power output of existing turbines of the same size thanks to the rotor blades beingenclosed within a diffuser, or an aerodynamically shaped cylinder.

“We’re initially targeting the yachting market with 900 millimetre diameter diffusersthat will deliver all of their energy needs,” he said.

“Then we’ll look at larger ones with a two metre diameter for farms, isolated communities and developing countries.”

University of Newcastle deputy program convener for the Bachelor of Midwifery, Donovan Jones, said his team’s CareGiVR platform usedvirtual and augmented reality technology to givehealth professionals an immersive way to learn,practice and demonstrate procedures anytime and anywhere.

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