Zema Energy Studies Scholarship
You can apply to pursue one of the Zema scholarship projects or contact a willing supervisor and design your own project. See the list of potential supervisors at Monash.
Please note that researchers receive many requests for supervision. Make sure your email is specific for the Zema Scholarship and describes the research area/project you wish to work in, and provides details of your academic record. If the researcher agrees to be nominated on your application, you should proceed to the next step.
The process for applying for a PhD scholarship at Monash varies for each faculty, but in general you will need to find a supervisor (an academic at Monash) and then submit an expression of interest with your faculty, after which you will be invited to make a full submission.
After you have received an invitation to apply, you can submit an application via the online portal.
The deadline for submitting full applications is 31 October 2023, and so you should be making contact with potential supervisors by early October.
Potential research areas and supervisors
These are example projects listed under the Zema Energy Studies Scholarship. If you would like to contact a supervisor and design an energy related research project, this would be considered. Multidisciplinary projects will be given priority.
Quantifying how information influences electricity consumers’ behaviour is vital to understanding the potential of demand-side management in the electricity sector. DELWP has initiated the Victorian Energy Compare (VEC) website and the Victorian Energy Upgrades (VEU) program to help Victorian households to reduce their energy bills. Using survey data collected from the website users, this project addresses the questions of whether the existence of such website creates more competition and lower energy prices, and whether provision of information to electricity consumers results in lower energy bills.
The project examines the voluntary reduction or shift of electricity use by customers, which can help to keep a power grid stable by balancing its supply and electricity demand. This kind of demand response typically involves paying some energy consumers to voluntarily cut or shift their use of power to better match supply. This project examines the role of monetary and non-monetary incentives through trials of volunteers receiving two separate bills; one with real time price incentives, and the other based on a standard contract, with the volunteers able to choose which bill to pay.
Because electricity is not meaningfully storable, a replicating portfolio that is normally used to enforce the no-arbitrage condition necessary to price derivatives cannot be constructed. Instead practitioners have relied on proxies based on fuel (e.g. coal), because fuel can be stored and the necessary no-arbitrage condition between fuel price and the derivative on fuel can be enforced.
As the energy transition progresses, fewer thermal generators operate and electricity storage arises. This has two consequences: first, no-arbitrage directly on electricity can be considered; second, the fuel-based proxies disappear. This project aims at developing pricing methods that rest on storage rather than fuel. It is steeped in economics and in mathematics.
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems have historically been a key driver for peak electricity demand, and are closely tied to comfort expectations in Australian households and businesses. However, in recent years air quality concerns resulting from the Covid pandemic, bushfires, allergens and pathogens have started to shift Australian’s expectations for indoor air and comfort. In addition, a desire to move away from natural gas will drive further demand for heat pumps. This project will develop future-focused design ethnographic methods to better understand how people’s expectations for indoor HVAC systems, air quality, and thermal comfort are changing. The project will inform energy forecasting and scenario planning for the Australian energy sector. Eligible candidates must have a degree in the social sciences or cognate discipline (e.g. anthropology, sociology, geography, design).
Supervisors: Dr Roger Dargaville
Energy storage can take many forms, e.g. lithium ion batteries at a variety of scales, pumped hydro energy storage, or thermal storage. Understanding the optimal mix of technologies is challenging and is dependent on requirements of both power (GW) and energy (GWh) and characteristics of the generation fleet (mix of wind, solar, hydro etc) and the likelihood of wind and solar ‘droughts’. Also, a mix of utility scale and residential/SME scale batteries are influenced by different sets of economics and policies. Finally, project risk can also be a factor, with long timescale build projects such as PHES being at a disadvantage to quite-to-install technologies such as Li-Ion. This project will investigate, through numerical analysis, the optimal and likely mix of storage in the mix.
Supervisors: Prof Hai L Vu (Engineering) and TBD
Electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly popular due to their efficiency and environmental friendliness. However, mass adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will result in significant power demand due to battery charging which in turn affects the power distribution network. This project will develop models to study and evaluate this impact taking into account the fact that EV chargings are spatial and temporal variables depending on individual activities, traffic conditions and recharge routines etc. Insights gained from the models can be then used to
- design strategies to incentivise preferable charging/discharging behaviours or to load balance the power grid, or
- evaluate the overall benefits of large-scale EV adoption by utilising the existing economic model, e.g. CGE model.