Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence (QGECE)

The University of Queensland

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Hybrid cooling tower

The Centre was established in 2009 by a Queensland State Government grant to assist the uptake of geothermal power generation. It has completed research on heat source discovery and transmission, and now focuses on power conversion, natural draft cooling towers and advanced power cycle technology. The Centre is also demonstrating ground source heat pumps to showcase the technology for use in Queensland. The centre has capabilities that can be applied in areas such as solar thermal power and waste heat recovery. The QGECE is now partly funded by the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), to deliver the next wave of cost reductions for solar thermal technologies, ensure solar thermal is competitive with other renewable and traditional energy sources and develop Australia’s capability to deliver this technology.

Website http://www.geothermal.uq.edu.au/

Key science sectors

Strengths and capabilities

  • Design and testing of radial turbines and turbine components
  • Expertise in organic Rankine cycles and supercritical carbon dioxide
  • Development and modelling of advanced power cycles
  • Power conversion for waste heat recovery and biomass
  • Design and testing of hybrid natural draft cooling towers
  • Industry consulting for air cooled condenser performance
  • Nozzle spray development for hybrid cooling and mirror cleaning
  • Wind tunnel testing of heat exchangers and components
  • Assessing potential of geothermal energy sources
  • Expert guidance on application of ground source heat pumps

Facilities and major equipment

  • Pinjarra Hills Renewable Power Generation Laboratory
  • Hybrid Natural Draft Cooling Tower Research Facility
  • Ground Source Heat Pump Research Facility
  • Wind Tunnel and Air-Cooled Condenser Test Facility
  • Geothermal Power Conversion Laboratory
  • Metal Foam Heat Exchanger Test Laboratory
  • Solar DNI Measurement and Prediction Equipment
  • Dust Monitoring and Solar Mirror Cleaning Facility
  • Portable Test ORC Power Plant

Number of research staff

Upto 20 research staff


Building 45, Cooper Rd, St Lucia, 4067

Lead researchers

  • Associate Professor Kamel Hooman—Recognised worldwide for research on heat exchangers, heat transfer and energy; publisher and reviewer for numerous journals and books.
  • Professor Halim Gurgenci—Chair of Aus. Geothermal Association; reviewer and advisor for several international renewable energy projects; a lead researcher in ASTRI.
  • Doctor Zhiqiang Guan—Developed fresh water conservation cooling technologies for renewable power plants; published more than 40 journals and conference papers.

Achievements of the centre

  • Commenced testing of 7kW ORC turbine in high pressure test loop for geothermal and waste heat applications; designed using in-house codes
  • Designed, constructed and tested an innovative, polymer-steel hybrid natural draft cooling tower for use in remote renewable power plants
  • Successfully installed two ground source heat pump systems, comprehensively instrumented to monitor performance and demonstrate technology.

Organisation type

  • University Research Centre

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