Supporting the transition towards net zero

Australia has committed to a target of net zero atmospheric carbon emissions by 2050.

Rapid changes are needed

The proportion of Australia’s electricity that comes from renewables has more than doubled in the past 5 years. Despite this, electricity generation remains our largest carbon emitting sector. In 2022-23 it still accounted for approximately one third of Australia’s CO2 emissions.

To meet Australia’s decarbonisation deadlines, we must continue to support rapid changes in how we produce our energy and how we use it. These include innovations such as:

  • electric vehicles
  • grid-level renewables
  • new low-emission fuels.

NMI Australia plays a critical role in this area, by providing unique services such as:

  • testing and analysis
  • calibration
  • quality assurance.

NMI Australia’s role in our energy transition

We are the national regulator for trade measurement

NMI is Australia’s national regulator for trade measurement instruments. As such, we provide definitive calibration, metering and testing services for Australia’s energy sector.

Our role requires us to ensure customers get what they pay for at ‘the pump’, whatever fuel they use. This means we have a unique position in the introduction of new energy technologies, including electric vehicles and their charging stations.

NMI works with industry to develop new standards for these new technologies, making sure that charging stations and other refuelling points can be accurately calibrated. 

Our pattern approval laboratory has an essential role in approving new commercial electrical devices. We ensure that new technologies meet the Australian standards for operation, including use in extreme temperature and humidity. We also test their resilience against electromagnetic interference, static jolts, and electrical surges.

Giving special handling to hydrogen

It’s not just electrical meters that need calibration. New low-emission fuels like hydrogen also need special handling.

NMI provides accurate gas and liquid flow measurements for future fuels. We also check fuel mixes for composition and purity.

NMI is also developing new capabilities to support the future fuels industry. This includes:

  • pressure sensor calibrations for hydrogen fuelling stations
  • new meters to manage hydrogen injection into existing gas networks
  • new export measurements.

Setting the standard in electricity

As at the petrol pump, you want to be sure that your household power bills are correct. NMI sets the standard for accurate electrical measurements across Australia.

Our scientists have developed internationally recognised precision measurement systems, to calibrate the master meters used by industry. We make sure they are accurate up to one thousandth of a percent. We also supply these to other national metrology institutes around the world.

These master meters are then used calibrate other electricity meters, down to the one in your home. They're also exchanged with other measurement institutes across the world. This ensures that Australia’s electrical measurements are globally consistent.

High voltage testing

Before equipment is connected to the electricity grid, it must be safe, secure, and accurate under all conditions. This may include high voltages, heavy rain or even a direct lighting strike.

NMI can test for it all. Our five-story high voltage laboratory can generate an artificial lighting strike up to three million volts.

We’re also able to calibrate grid-level instruments, from the smallest to the largest end of the scale.

Case study: How we’re supporting the hydrogen fuel industry

The hydrogen fuel industry is a major export opportunity for Australia. The Australian Renewable Energy Agency predicts that more than a million tonnes of hydrogen could be exported each year by 2040. This could be worth approximately $10 billion each year to our economy.

Just like existing vehicle fuels, hydrogen fuel needs to be of high purity. Contamination can cause anything from engine failures to trade issues.

To ensure hydrogen producers, exporters and consumers can trade with confidence, NMI is developing:

  • quality assurance requirements
  • gas reference mixtures
  • domestic and international standards.

We are also working with industry to ensure that new hydrogen refuelling stations are accurate under Australian operating conditions.

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