Monash University has a well-earned reputation for being at the cutting edge of education and research on the development of renewable energy sources. This is fast becoming a burgeoning scientific and technological field that Monash University has embraced.
Engineering research at Monash University is “well above world standard”, according to the 2012 Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) assessment report released in December 2012 by the Australian Research Council. Furthermore, Monash Engineering is the only university in Victoria to have the highest possible ranking this year.
All eight specialised fields of research at Monash University in the four-digit category under engineering are at world standard or above, the ERA report shows. Awarded the highest possible ranking of five are biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, materials engineering and interdisciplinary engineering.
The Department of Materials Engineering has a very active well-funded research program with extensive, modern facilities. A large number of postgraduates and research fellows have emerged from this path of study with skills to work across disciplines that are outside traditional academic structures to find real solutions to the global energy crisis.
Materials engineering is interdisciplinary, involving physics, mathematics, biology and chemistry, culminating in ground-breaking research and a thriving job market for aspiring engineers. If you think about it, every single product contains at least one material, whether it is mechanical, thermal, electrical, optical, electronic or biological.
Materials engineering is all about making new materials and improving existing ones. It is about making things stronger, lighter and more functional, sustainable and cost-effective. Materials engineering plays a significant role in just about every industry you could imagine, especially the emerging field of alternative energies.
The projects at Monash University’s Department of Material Engineering involve collaboration and funding from both industry and government. Some of the major areas of research include geothermal energy, brown coal innovation, biofuels, solar energy and hybrid car fuel cells.
The focus on solar research in particular has long been a recognised strength of Monash University. Reducing the cost of converting solar energy into electricity is a global endeavour that is attracting the attention of researchers everywhere.
The current research in the Department of Materials Engineering at Monash University has been concentrating on the development of low cost and light weight Dye Sensitized Solar Cells and Organic Solar Cells. These are exciting new types of solar energy devices that are potentially less expensive, more versatile and effective. In short, the Holy Grail of solar research and development.
For more information, take a look at Monash University’s Department of Materials Engineering website.