Exterior of CSIRO Energy Centre. It is a modern facility that features a large photovoltaic panel on the front of the building.

CSIRO Energy Technology - Newcastle

CSIRO Energy Centre

The CSIRO Energy Centre provides a focus for energy research in Australia, showcasing ecological design alongside world-class science facilities, delivering innovations in renewable energy, energy efficiency and low emission fossil fuel research

  • 31 May 2005 | Updated 29 May 2013

Situated in Newcastle, the traditional heartland of Australia’s coal industry and the largest coal export harbour in the world, the CSIRO Energy Centre is a state-of-the-art research facility specialising in renewable energy and low emission fossil fuel research.

The Centre plays a pivotal role in Australia’s energy research landscape as a centre for excellence in energy modelling, large-scale solar and carbon capture technologies, renewable energy integration and energy efficiency.

It is the headquarters for both CSIRO Energy Technology and the Energy Transformed Flagship.

Showcase for energy efficient design

Opened in 2003, the CSIRO Energy Centre set a new benchmark in ecologically sustainable design, showcasing innovative energy generation approaches, building demand reduction and supply options.

Recognised for its sustainable and energy efficient design, the CSIRO Energy Centre was a national finalist in the 2004 Australian Engineering Excellence Awards.

The Energy Centre focuses on reducing energy demand and then meeting that demand through a combination of grid provided electricity and distributed generation using gas and renewables.

Energy conservation measures

The building incorporates a number of active and passive measures to conserve energy. These include:

  • building orientation and layout – maximising natural light and allowing for temperature control throughout seasons
  • building insulation – reducing heating and cooling loads
  • opening windows – allowing for natural ventilation
  • window glass selection – minimising heat build up and maintaining natural light
  • energy efficient air-conditioning system – designed for separate and specific uses in laboratories and office areas
  • outside air economy cycle – making use of outside air for cooling
  • automatic lighting control system – only lights areas that are in use
  • building management system – minimising energy use and maximising efficiency.

The CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, has been designed to maximise light and ventilation and so operate more energy efficiently.

On-site energy generation

The Energy Centre also incorporates an energy generation suite developed for efficiency and to showcase available technologies. These technologies include:

  • a 115 kilowatt photovoltaic system comprising three types of building integrated photovoltaic arrays – monocrystalline and polychrystalline silicon photovoltics and a large titania dye solar cell array
  • a 120 kilowatt gas fired microturbine cogeneration system supplying electricity and hot water
  • a 6 kilowatt integrated wind turbine system comprised of a one kilowatt vertical axis wind turbine and a 5 kilowatt  horizontal axis wind turbines (soon to be installed); and
  • two concentrating solar thermal tower arrays capable of 500 kilowatts and one megawatt thermal output respectively.

Specialised research facilities

The Energy Centre is home to the National Solar Energy Centre, Australia’s leading advanced solar research facility, as well as a number of other specialised laboratories and test facilities, designed and operated by CSIRO. These include: 

Visiting the Energy Centre

Aerial view of the CSIRO Energy Centre,taken from the tower of Solar Field 2, in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia.

The Energy Centre’s primary function is a scientific research facility.

However, members of the public can view this world-class facility first hand, by applying to attend a scheduled visitor day.

Held every three months, small groups enjoy a guided tour of this award-winning research centre and gain an insight into the world-leading energy research taking place in the region.

If you would like attend one of these days, please view visitor day dates and apply online [external link].

Learn about CSIRO's work in Energy.