Australian oil and gas company Woodside Energy has joined forces with Monash University to develop a state-of-the-art ‘living laboratory’ and long-term research partnership to support Australia’s low-carbon energy transition.
Woodside will contribute $16.5 million to the construction of the Woodside Building for Technology and Design, located in the Monash Technology Precinct. The Precinct houses Australia’s largest concentration of research institutions and leading engineering companies.
The building is due for completion in early 2020. It will be one of the world’s most efficient and innovative teaching facilities, and through the partnership, Monash and Woodside will explore the possibilities of hydrogen and carbon abatement, with a focus on materials, electro-chemical and thermal chemical research.
Woodside and Monash will also jointly invest more than $40 million into the ongoing research partnership over the next seven years.
The Woodside Building for Technology and Design and Woodside Monash Energy Partnership will build on the foundation FutureLab collaboration, established by Woodside at Monash in 2015.
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Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO said the new building and the growth of the Woodside-Monash Energy Partnership would greatly improve Australia’s capacity to find new solutions in sustainable energy technology, and that it would quickly build a reputation as a leading centre for innovation.
“With generous support from Woodside, we are excited to see the next iteration of FutureLab take shape. This will be a place where industry interacts with students, researchers and academics to produce job-ready graduates and provide solutions to some of the biggest challenges in our future. In partnership, we are committed to leading the world with our research and study programs to achieve sustainable, positive change,” Professor Gardner said.
Woodside CEO Peter Coleman said the new research partnership would deepen a proven relationship.
“Woodside and Monash share a commitment to developing innovative responses to real-world challenges and we recognise that finding a sustainable path to a lower-carbon economy is one of the biggest we face. This challenge can only be solved by companies like Woodside, which is applying disruptive data-driven technologies to our operations, working with the best and brightest minds at universities such as Monash.
“Our goal through the Woodside Monash Energy Partnership is ambitious but is grounded in reality. It is not simply about shifting to a low-carbon future, but about ensuring that future is achievable and sustainable for industry and for a resource-rich nation like Australia by maintaining a strong economy and the employment that goes with it. We think natural gas, renewables and ultimately hydrogen are all part of the answer to this challenge and we look forward to working with Monash on multiple prongs of the energy transition,” he said.
Woodside’s investment meets a key aim under Monash’s Change it. For Good. philanthropy campaign to accelerate the scale and success of the university’s international research to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.
Woodside made headlines last year when Mr Coleman called for a carbon price, saying the time to act on climate change is now.
“Our legacy needs to be one that both our children and our grandchildren are proud that their parents gave to them and that opportunity is now, so we think there is a will to act, the time is now, and we need to start having good policy debate,” he said.