The Institute for Sustainable Systems and Technologies (ISST) is set to become an internationally recognised research hub by developing systems and technologies that optimise the use of natural resources, minimise waste, emissions and other environmental consequences, and reduce costs.
"ISST brings together the talents of four world-leading centres within the University researching agricultural machinery, industrial and applied mathematics, sustainable energy and transport systems," ISST Director, Professor Wasim Saman said.
"Integrating the capabilities of these centres means we can create new multi-disciplinary research programs across a broad range of advanced systems and technologies that will help South Australia to become a national and international leader in sustainable development. We hope to stimulate the growth of industries that will export innovative South Australian technologies, products and expertise," Prof Saman said.
Sustainability tops the list of major issues facing the planet at the beginning of 2006 and it's this area that's generating the most excitement at UniSA, according to Pro Vice Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Professor Caroline McMillen.
"Our researchers are already actively involved in developing sustainable solutions in areas such as agriculture and food production, water cycle management, energy and emissions in transport systems, built and natural environments and even the modelling of fish populations," Prof McMillen said.
"We're taking new research outcomes and new technologies into the environment to address here-and-now issues. ISST is about finding clever solutions that will contribute to a sustainable society."
A sample of project outcomes is the solar mallee "trees" - a new generation of solar lights in a contemporary form at Adelaide's Festival Centre plaza. One of many environmentally sustainable initiatives developed by UniSA researchers, the "trees" harness solar energy from the sun through canopies of laminated, oval-shaped, curved solar cell panels.
These canopies generate about 2592kWh of energy but only use 375kWh per annum to light the plaza at night. The excess energy generated, about 2217kWh, is returned to the power grid, saving about two tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Professor Jerzy Filar will be Director of Research at ISST, with an advisory board selected from industry, government and academia. ISST is also establishing an expert panel of leading international authorities to provide advice on its research programs, potential international funding and collaborative opportunities. Members include Herbert Girardet and Mathis Wackernagel.