Finding new solutions for Australia’s green energy future and boosting local manufacturing capabilities are just some of the exciting possibilities on offer with the opening of Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) three new engineering laboratories.

ECU recent unveiled the $10m state-of-the-art engineering facilities, which are designed to drive innovative research and strengthen Western Australia’s manufacturing, green energy, technology and mining industries. The facilities will deliver an enhanced focus on industry collaborations and discoveries, while offering real-world experience for the next generation of engineers.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman said the laboratories will provide exceptional new opportunities for industry partnerships.

“Our facilities are aligned with both industry and the WA State Government’s commitment to boosting local manufacturing and securing Western Australia’s sustainable energy future,” said Professor Chapman.

The three laboratories include an Advanced Manufacturing Hub, Renewable Energy Lab and Sustainable Energy and Resources Lab. The laboratories feature cutting-edge technologies and equipment, including Western Australia’s only GE Concept Laser metal 3D printing system in partnership with global mining company South32.

“Combined with ECU’s world-class research and industry-focused expertise, these new laboratories aim to offer creative answers to our world’s most challenging and pressing questions,” said Professor Chapman. “The laboratories reinforce our commitment to engaging with industry to provide remarkable outcomes for them but also delivering real-world experience and connections for our students.”

South32 Worsley Alumina Vice President Operations Erwin Schaufler said South32’s partnership with ECU will position Western Australia as a leader in emerging advanced manufacturing technologies.

“South32 is pleased to support Edith Cowan University by donating a 3D printer from our Worsley Alumina operation for use in ECU’s new Advanced Manufacturing Hub,” Schaufler said. “The printer will be used to conduct research into advanced manufacturing techniques, including production of sustainable, high-quality metal components that wouldn’t be possible via traditional manufacturing techniques. These components will have practical uses in a low carbon future. The research being undertaken at Edith Cowan University, supported by South32, will help Australian industry to be at the forefront of change.”

The three laboratories include industry-grade tools and technology that will boost capabilities and research in a range of areas, including:

  • Advanced Manufacturing Hub. One of Western Australia’s leading facilities in 3D printing technologies and advanced additive manufacturing The Hub will enable rapid prototyping and production of critical components in the manufacturing industry, lifting local skills and capacity.
  • Renewable Energy Lab. Featuring a comprehensive range of green energy infrastructure and grid control technologies, the lab enables frontier research into the integration and management of renewable energy sources to support Australia’s green energy future.
  • Sustainable Energy and Resources Lab. With state-of-the-art technologies unique to Western Australia, the lab supports ground-breaking research into carbon capture and storage, and underground hydrogen storage systems to deliver solutions to the challenges facing the oil and gas industries.

The laboratories strengthen ECU’s world-class engineering facilities, which have seen the School of Engineering ranked among the world’s best 175 universities in the 2022 Times Higher Education World Rankings.