South Australia has world-class research and higher-education institutions, each of which has globally connected centres of knowledge and expertise that investigate future renewable energy sources and applications.

Some of the major research and development groups are listed below. More information on their individual initiatives is available directly from those groups.

The University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide includes relevant faculties, institutes, research priorities and commercialisation arms.

The Schools of Civil, Environmental and Mining EngineeringElectrical and Electronic Engineering and Mechanical Engineering within the Faculty of Engineering, Computer and Mathematical Sciences have an outstanding reputation for research and teaching.

Key research nodes include the Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources, which collaborates with companies around the globe and experts across all discipline to build teams of specialist problem solvers, and the Centre for Energy Technology , developing innovative solutions for sustainable minerals processing, power and fuels.

The University's Institute for Mineral Energy and Resources has several Research Centres which focus on Energy and Mining:

  • Centre for Energy Technology
  • Mawson Geo Centre
  • Centre for Materials in Energy and Catalysis
  • Integrated Mining Consortium
  • Critical Minerals Research Centre
  • ARC Training Centre for Integrated Operations for Complex Resources

The University of Adelaide’s research priority in Sustainable Energy has realised or is working towards the following:

  • $15 million solar thermal for alumina processing plant
  • $87 million Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI)
  • $3.3 million Australian Energy Storage Knowledge Bank – testing battery storage in the grid
  • Distributed generation technologies and power electronics
  • Electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, micro-grid battery management
  • Biomass to energy
  • Wind, wave and tidal power research
  • Energy materials

Adelaide Enterprise is the University’s commercialisation arm, delivering technologies to the market, a commercial accelerator scheme and technologies portfolio.

Flinders University

Flinders University supports renewable energy through its

Relevant faculties

  • Civil engineering
  • Electrical, electronic, robotics engineering
  • Mechanical engineering

Key research nodes

  • Centre for NanoScale Science & Technology (CNST)

Research priorities

Strategic Research Areas in Energy

  • Flexible electronics
  • Silicon alternative devices
  • Transport electrodes
  • Energy Storage
  • Concentrated Solar

Current research being undertaken includes:

  • Creating New Solar Cells
  • The Future of Solar Fuels


  • Co-location at the Tonsley Innovation Precinct with renewable energy, storage and autonomous driving-related companies

Commercialisation arm

  • New Venture Institute – links industry, government and researchers to develop and showcase R&D innovations and create robust industry-university linkages.

University of South Australia

The University of South Australia includes relevant faculties, institutes, research priorities and commercialisation arms.

Relevant faculties

  • Civil, environmental and infrastructure engineering
  • Electrical, electronic and advanced manufacturing engineering
  • Mechanical and manufacturing engineering
  • Space studies
  • Autonomous systems

Key research nodes

Research priorities

  • Low-carbon living
    • Technology innovation
    • Energy systems integration
    • Economics of low carbon precincts

    Research conducted at the Node includes development of new technologies, new applications for technologies and new approaches in achieving low carbon living.

  • Future Industries
    • Minerals and resources engineering
    • Energy and advanced manufacturing
    • Environmental science and engineering
    • Biomaterials engineering and nanomedicine

Commercialisation arms

  • Innovation and Collaboration Centre
    • Since 2015, the Innovation & Collaboration Centre has supported early-stage startups through providing workspace, mentoring and funding.
  • UniSA Enterprise Hub
    • The Enterprise Hub will unite industry partners with UniSA researchers, educators and students on activities that solve real problems, drive progress and shape business and community prosperity in South Australia and beyond..

World Solar Challenge

The World Solar Challenge (WSC) has provided critical research and development opportunities in renewable technologies in South Australia.

The WSC is a biennial race for solar-powered electric cars that travel from Darwin to Adelaide. Teams of higher-education and secondary students from around the world design and build their own vehicles to compete in the 3000-km event.

Since it started in 1987, with pioneer sponsor the South Australian Tourism Commission, the event has demonstrated the development and application of advanced low carbon automotive technology and alternatives engines.

Solar car innovations are at the heart of all electric cars as they use technology that is continually researched and developed in the WSC.

The WSC is supported by a Scientific Faculty that includes South Australian member Dr Peter Pudney, chair of the Technical Committee. Learn more about Dr Peter Pudney and the Scientific Faculty.

For more information about the 2021 teams and results, please visit the World Solar Challenge website.