Energy research at USC fuels opportunities

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Energy research at USC fuels opportunities

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Published on 3 July 2013

Doors are opening left, right and centre for University of the Sunshine Coast PhD student Krystina Lamb who is researching whether a new type of alcohol fuel cell could be a viable energy alternative.

Ms Lamb, 24, recently received a prestigious Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE) award and gained a fully funded placement to attend a school at one of the world’s most renowned X-ray science sites in Japan.

The AINSE Postgraduate Research Award is worth $7,500 annually and is offered to only 15 Australian and New Zealand recipients each year.

It will enable Ms Lamb to work in Sydney alongside Dr Vanessa Peterson, an experienced co-supervisor of the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation.

In September, Ms Lamb will travel to Hyogo, Japan, for her placement with the Cheiron School at the SPring-8 (Super Photon Ring) facility as part of the Asia-Oceania Forum for Synchrotron Radiation Research.

The Ilkley resident said she was thrilled that her work had been recognised by the neutron and synchrotron science research communities, both in Australia and overseas.

“My research is investigating how newly developed alcohol-based fuel cells could be potentially used as a commercially viable energy alternative,” Ms Lamb said.

“This research is based on the fact that I am an environmental scientist at heart. I feel that we, as a society, need to develop a renewable energy source which can deliver energy on demand and with efficiency.

“The alcohol fuel cell is not the answer to all our energy problems. However, I feel it has the potential to address a range of commercialisation issues which, if successful, could produce an effective energy source that meets ongoing demand for a range of sectors.”

USC’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research Professor Roland De Marco congratulated Ms Lamb on her successes.

“Krystina will be attending one of the world’s largest and arguably the best third-generation synchrotron light source. She will be mixing with some of the world’s best students, brightest minds and scientific leaders in the field,” Professor De Marco said.

“The placement at the Cheiron School and the award from AINSE are great opportunities for her to gain access to the world’s best ‘big science’ research infrastructure in her field of interest.”

Ms Lamb, who completed a Bachelor of Science with Honours at USC prior to starting her PhD in 2012, is also a finalist for the University’s Three Minute Thesis contest to be held on Friday 5 July.

This competition, in which PhD students have just 90 seconds to summarise years of research, has become a highlight of USC’s annual University Research Week, this year running from 1-5 July.

— Jessica Halls

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