Australia’s National Lab CSIRO Goes Electric, Powered By The Sun

1 year ago by Jay Cole 5

CSIRO Nissan LEAFs Charging At The Lab's Discovery Building In Canberra.

CSIRO Nissan LEAFs Charging At The Lab’s Discovery Building In Canberra.

Quite honestly, we don’t hear near enough “plug-in success stories” from Australia these days, so when a research scientist at Australia’s national lab told us of a recent advancement in EV adoption down under, we had to pass it along.

Specifically, that CSIRO (the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization) has taken the first steps to truly drive emission free with the delivery of the first two all-electric Nissan LEAFs that will be powered by on site solar PV panels.  And this is just the first wave, as many more EVs will be added in the future.

An example, we feel, that should light the way for other scientific groups all over the world to follow:

“We are rolling out these new electric cars across seven of our sites to enable petrol-free motoring within CSIRO’s pool of fleet vehicles,” CSIRO General Manager, Building and Infrastructure Services, Mark Wallis said, “With the addition of solar PV panels at our sites, we aim to generate more than enough renewable energy to charge and run the cars, making them emission free.”

Next up shortly, is delivery of 8 more EVs, as well as a couple electric bikes, to several other CSIRO sites in Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Townsville and Newcastle.

“The cars and electric bikes are the latest in a raft of initiatives to lower emissions, reduce waste and improve the sustainability of operations across CSIRO,” Mr Wallis said.

The net result is not only being green, but saving some “” at the same time, an economic reality that has only recently been realized by not only falling plug-in vehicle prices in Australia, but the lower cost of PV projects:

“The money saved or earned can be reinvested into national science priorities.”

CSIRO General Manager Business and Infrastructure Service, Mark Wallis (left) and Deputy General Manager Steve Edwards with the electric cars at Discovery Building in Canberra

CSIRO General Manager Business and Infrastructure Service, Mark Wallis (left) and Deputy General Manager Steve Edwards with the electric cars at Discovery Building in Canberra

Some of CSIRO’s other recent sustainability initiatives and benefits include:

EVs Charged By The Sun At Australia's National Lab? Just Makes Sense To Us!

EVs Charged By The Sun At Australia’s National Lab? Just Makes Sense To Us!

  • 36 electric/petrol hybrid cars introduced to the CSIRO Fleet in 2015 to replace petrol-only vehicles
  • A 2300 tonne carbon dioxide equivalent (tC02e) emissions reduction and $176,000 estimated cost saving from a nationwide campaign to close laboratory fume hoods during ‘downtime’.
  • A 162 tC02e emissions reduction and $32,000 saving each year from 120kW photovoltaic (PV) rooftop solar panels generating  214 MegaWatt hours (MWh) of electricity each year at the joint venture Pawsey (supercomputer) Centre in Perth, Western Australia
  • A 134 tC02e emissions reduction and $26,000 saving each year from 100kW PV rooftop solar generating 176 MWh of electricity each year at the Australian Resources Research Centre in Perth, WA. The PV systems complement approximately 260 kW PV, 5 kW of wind generation and 120 kW cogeneration capacity at the Newcastle site
  • 900 tC02e emissions reduction and $114,400 saving from lighting upgrades in stairways, exits, balconies and building re-commissioning projects in selected laboratories

“Together with electric cars and these sustainability measures, where it makes good sense, we are reducing our environmental footprint by consolidating our operations at key sites, as we have just done at Black Mountain, Canberra,” Mr Wallis said.

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5 responses to "Australia’s National Lab CSIRO Goes Electric, Powered By The Sun"

  1. TomArt says:

    Excellent news!

    The US could do this, since several of the 17 national labs are in the southern and western tiers of the US, from Oak Ridge to Sandia and Berkeley.

  2. LEAF_AU says:

    They’re still selling 2012 LEAFs here as new. Bet Nissan Australia will be glad to offload the last few cars in their inventory. It’s a sad state of affairs here despite how enthusiastic the owners are.

  3. Just_Chris says:

    Don’t they look beautiful, I feel like we should have a little welcome home party for their aluminum castings:

    http://www.caradvice.com.au/110547/nissan-casting-plant-in-dandenong-secures-future/

  4. Kdawg says:

    Little known fact, electrons spin the opposite way in Australia.

    1. Just_Chris says:

      It’s caused by the atoms being upside down