Optimising the total cost of owning and operating centralised chilled water plants


Dr Ben Cheng and Dr Toh Yen Pang (RMIT)

Richard Phillips and Iain Stewart (Exergenics)

The project

Traditional chiller equipment operation optimisation focuses on short term gains. However, this can be at the detriment to long term equipment lifecycle cost. By investigating the nexus between energy efficiency, peak demand, equipment performance, equipment degradation profiles, maintenance, CAPEX and OPEX expenditure, there is significant opportunity to improve the current and future energy productivity of these systems.

This PhD project will address the effects of maintenance and operation, load and run time on the expected life of a chiller and their impact on the total cost of ownership. Given the 20–25-year lifecycle of chillers, the PhD project will include the effect of wider factors such as market shifts towards renewable energy sources and environmental changes such as global warming, which are directly affecting the operation of chillers.

The successful applicant will work closely with the research partner on the PhD project and will undergo a 2 day commercialisation training


To be eligible for a RACE for 2030 scholarship:

  1. Scholarships are available for Australian residents. Non-residents will be considered, subject to project-specific requirements. Applicants should have a first-class honours degree or equivalent in a related discipline.
  2. Applicants must be eligible for enrolment in their chosen course at a participating RACE university. It is recommended that students obtain relevant postgraduate information from the relevant university before pursuing a scholarship inquiry.
  3. Applicants must be studying full time.




$38,000 + $3,000 pa expenses


Page last updated 28 July 2023