The ECI Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific

Wednesday 2 August 2017

The ANU Energy Change Institute’s Grand Challenge is to bring Zero-Carbon Energy to the Asia Pacific.

We live in the Asian century. In the next two decades, two thirds of the world’s energy growth will happen in our region. As one of the highest per capita emitters, our challenge is to ensure this growth is zero-carbon.

Are you an ANU researcher interested in working with us on our Grand Challenge? Please signal your interest by commenting on our video via the Grand Challenges discussion portal which is now open to the ANU community by ANU log-in.

ECI Grand Challenge Proposal: Stage Two

ECI Grand Challenge Participant List

What is our starting point?

The ECI’s Grand Challenge will start local and go global, building on a triple A foundation for its development – the ACT, Australia and the Asia-Pacific.

Already the ECI encompasses a wide range of research programs in every College of the University related to the Grand Challenge theme.  The following list of existing research and external engagement is the foundation for our Grand Challenge theme on which we can expand:


  • Industry partnerships through our foundation membership of the ACT Government’s Renewable Innovation Hub
  • Building the $8m ACT Government/ANU ECI Battery Storage and Integration program
  • Investigating hydrogen generation and applications with ACT Government and industry
  • Creating an Energy Master Plan for the University – the ACT’s largest electricity customer


  • Advice to the Australian government on transitioning to a zero-carbon energy sector
  • Investigating prospects for pumped hydro storage
  • Developing new low-carbon energy technologies
  • Pathways to rapid electrification of land transport
  • Pathways to rapid replacement of gas by electric heat pumps for low temperature heat
  • Establishing pathways for high levels of renewable energy integration into electricity grids and microgrids
  • Investigating hydrogen production for energy, synthetic/solar fuels and other products


  • Enhancing the Energy Cluster research program of the Australia-Indonesia Centre, in particular the proposed 35GW (23% renewable) expansion of Indonesia’s electricity sector:
    • Assessing the potential future costs of a range of generating technologies
    • Integration of renewables and storage in microgrids and into the wider electricity sector
    • Understanding legal and social barriers to energy change and good governance
    • Mapping PV, wind and pumped-hydro storage resources
  • Commercial links with Chinese solar PV companies
  • The Development Policy Centre on Pacific energy infrastructure
  • Research on hydrogen storage technology with companies in China, Malaysia, Singapore, and Korea
  • Developing market mechanisms for climate policy with China
  • Leading the Toshiba Foundation’s “Experts’ Dialogue on Energy Policy and Regulation in Asia” 
  • Collaboration on fusion energy with technology transfer via the ANU experimental fusion facility to the University of South China, and collaborations with Japan and Korea

Future Energy Projects

  • Advice to the ACT government on a zero-carbon Territory economy by 2050
  • Creating an ANU microgrid to enable demand response from the ACT’s biggest consumer
  • Developing projects and policies to implement the National Electricity Market review
  • Implementing new renewable energy technologies
  • Smart-grid optimized design for decentralized electricity grids
  • Developing prospects for electrification and fossil fuel replacement
  • Investigating a potential South-East Asian supergrid
  • Creating new policies for energy development and governance in the Asia-Pacific
  • Developing technologies for export of renewable fuels (such as synthetic hydrocarbons, ammonia and hydrogen) including renewable jet fuel
  • Very large scale export of energy-rich metals (rather than metal ores) and synthetic hydrocarbons

Come and add your own future project …. !

What is the Grand Challenge scheme?

The ANU Grand Challenges Scheme funds transformative research with the potential to radically change our understanding of, and responses to, the world’s most intractable problems. It’s an ambitious and broad reaching initiative designed to fund long-term programs of research not typically supported by external competitive funding.

For more information on the ECI's Grand Challenge please contact Sarah Wilson, ECI Communications Manager, tel 02 6125 0946,

For more information on the ANU’s Grand Challenges Scheme click here (accessible to ANU staff only).

Academics featured in the Grand Challenge video

Prof Ken Baldwin

Research School of Physics and Engineering, CPMS, Director, ANU Energy Change Institute

Prof Yun Liu

Research School of Chemistry, CPMS Convenor, ECI Energy Storage and Recovery cluster

Dr Paul Burke

College of Asia and the Pacific ECI Energy Economics and Policy cluster

Prof Kylie Catchpole

Research School of Engineering, CECS Convenor, ECI Master of Energy Change

Dr James Prest

College of Law, Convenor, ECI Energy Regulation and Governance cluster

Updated:  20 April 2018/Responsible Officer:  Director, Energy Change Institute/Page Contact:  Webmaster