Green Energy Engineering Centre (GEEC)

Undertaking research to assist Aotearoa New Zealand in achieving a zero-carbon economy through increased investment in renewable energy.

Solar panels

The key purpose of the Green Energy Engineering Centre (GEEC) is to carry out research which will help New Zealand reach a zero-carbon economy through increased investment in renewable energy.

Current energy research within the Faculty of Engineering encompasses
geothermal, wind, solar, and marine energy, green hydrogen, electricity optimization, as well as energy storage, efficiency, and conservation.

The GEEC will promote collaboration across these areas and provide better visibility of this research to the outside world. The establishment of the GEEC will provide a platform to seek external research funding and will foster collaboration with industry partners and other research groups.

Our research

The GEEC unites several existing energy research groups drawn from all departments in the Faculty of Engineering. It is becoming clear that the transition to green energy is a complex policy question that will require a blend of technologies and market instruments.

This will require a transdisciplinary approach, not only to find the appropriate synthesis of technologies, but to ensure that these are environmentally and socially acceptable. The GEEC will be a source of expertise in technologies for these processes and their optimal deployment, and will form a core of technical expertise for this transdisciplinary effort.

Some examples of potential technical contributions of the GEEC are:

  • Geothermal energy can be harnessed to produce green hydrogen, or coupled locally with solar and wind energy to provide help with intermittent supply
  • Industrial processing plants can be scheduled optimally to enable zero carbon through smart control
  • Designing market mechanisms to ensure timely capacity expansion in renewable electricity generation
  • Ensuring future energy systems are reliable under extreme weather events and climate change scenarios
  • Informing stakeholders about opportunities for widespread distributed wind and solar energy deployment 

How can you work with us?

The GEEC’s researchers collaborate closely with the University of Auckland Business School’s Energy Centre, as well as the University of Canterbury’s Electrical Power Engineering Centre (EPECentre). In addition, we work with Crown Research Institutes including the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) and the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS Science).

Our researchers also collaborate with research institutions internationally, including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Stanford University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cambridge University, Ecole des Ponts, and German Aerospace. We intend to nurture and develop these relationships, and further establish new collaborations with industry partners.

If you are interested in working with us, please contact our centre’s director.

Our people

Our commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Renewable energy is a key technology to enable kaitiakitanga. The GEEC will collaborate with tangata whenua to enhance their deployment of the technologies that emerge from our research.

Two existing/developing relationships are:

Renewable Marae Project

The GEEC will establish a project to establish renewable energy systems at a Māori marae. We will work with the established Faculty of Engineering partners at Te Rarawa to set up a pilot project, including student involvement in the design and build. The project is likely to involve solar panels, a small windmill and an electrical converter. If the pilot project works well, we will seek to replicate it with perhaps two projects per year. This concept could potentially be extended to a village scale project, for example, for Te Kao or Te Hapua, or on a Pacific Island.

Green manufacturing

We also have a developing relationship with Miraka and Waiu who successfully integrate geothermal power with dairy production and greenhouses, thus moving towards circular production. Miraka and Waiu are interested in new approaches that can sustainably add further value and achieve savings while emitting zero carbon.