Behrooz is mitigating the impact of climate change by integrating renewable energy sources into our existing power grid.
Twenty seven per cent of Australia’s electricity supply was generated by renewable energy in 2020, an encouraging statistic indicating that a fully-decarbonised power grid may be achievable in the near future. This steady growth in renewables is welcome news for Dr Behrooz Bahrani of the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering, a researcher who is devoting his career to mitigating climate change through the successful transition from fossil fuel power to renewable energy integration.
An expert in power conversion for applications such as renewable energy, energy storage and electric vehicles; and the Director of Monash University’s Grid Innovation Hub, Behrooz is specifically working to ensure that the transmission lines that criss-cross the country can integrate increasing amounts of wind and solar energy, while minimising the chance of costly blackouts.
“Australia is leading the way internationally in grid integration of renewables,“ he said. “Our system is much weaker due to our geographical size and population distribution, so we’re encountering unique integration problems that don’t exist in stronger systems, such as the European grid. The world is watching how we’re solving each presenting challenge with great interest, and we’re in the perfect position to exercise leadership in the field internationally. ”
"The world is watching how we’re solving each presenting challenge with great interest, and we’re in the perfect position to exercise leadership in the field internationally. ”
Strong industry links
As part of bolstering Australia’s capacity to complete the transition, Behrooz is keen to inspire new generations of students and researchers to become involved in solving the ongoing grid integration challenges. “I enjoy mixing my research with teaching, and making sure my teaching is as practice-oriented as possible,” he said. “We have strong links with the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) who oversee the national grid, and we’ve already had several postgraduate students assisting them in a research capacity. I also regularly integrate real-world examples into my undergraduate teaching, and invite industry speakers to discuss the realities and challenges of engineering practice in the power industry. This will only strengthen our capacity in this critical space.”
Behrooz has found the Department of Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering to be a supportive and well-resourced place to work. “I’ve always received a lot of support from our department leadership, we have fantastic systems in place and we’ve invested a lot of resources into our teaching and research labs,” he said. “We have enormous potential and scope for growth, which is very exciting and I’m looking forward to seeing how we evolve.”
Ultimately, Behrooz is excited about the potential to make a powerful impact on the future through renewable energy. “We’re in the middle of a massive, complex transition in our power systems, but if we don’t do it, we’ll be in very deep trouble in thirty years' time,” he said. “ We already know how extreme weather events can put even greater pressure on our power grid, and these will only increase if we don’t continue to do the challenging transition work. We risk facing even more blackouts and disruptions as we continue to make the necessary changes, but this is a very small price to pay for the greater good of decarbonising our system.”
Learn more about the Grid Innovation Hub
View Behrooz’s research profile