Two presentations - February 2024 pub meeting

  • 22 Feb 2024
  • 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM
  • Auburn Hotel Hawthorn

Drinks (provided) upstairs from 6:30 pm on 22 Feb, mingling, then dinner and two presentations from 7:00 pm.

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First presentation:  Lithium-ion fire at Big Battery (2021)

Bill Gleeson will be presenting on the high-profile fire at the Victorian Big Battery in July 2021 involving two Tesla lithium-ion MegaPack battery storage units.  Bill was involved in the post fire investigation, involving disassembly of the affected unit, and working with Tesla and the fire brigade. His presentation will focus on the technical findings report, and other publicly available information, with some anecdotes from the investigation. Bill was also involved in the investigation of the Bouldercombe Tesla battery fire in Queensland in September 2023.

 Speaker:  Bill Gleeson Grad Dip FSE, BSc, AIFireE

Bill also has a degree in Science, with a Computer Science major.  He worked as a computer programmer for approximately 10 years. He joined the NT fire brigade in 2007, and spent 12 years as a professional fire fighter, including time as a pump instructor, recruit instructor and fire engineer. He also deployed to East Timor and the Philippines as part of humanitarian Australian medical assistance teams (AUSMAT) in 2012 and 2013.  Bill began studying fire safety engineering in 2014 and left the brigade in 2019 to become an engineer full time in Victoria. He is now a registered professional fire safety engineer working for Basic Expert, now as Engineer Manager (Fire Safety).

Second Presentation:  Testing wind turbines and why it is so difficult.

Peter Freere will explain why wind turbines can often perform differently from what is expected.  This is discussed in terms of the nature of wind (short term and long term) and the various measurement techniques of wind.  These factors have a strong influence on the measured power curve of a wind turbine, which affects the prediction of the wind turbine performance in the field.  The performance of the wind turbine is also affected by the yaw angle and changes that occur to the turbine and its generator, either over time, or, as a result of particular short term effects.  The measurements using ordinary test equipment may be quite inaccurate.  There is a complex influence of one wind turbine on another nearby.  Hence the mathematical model of a wind turbine to be able to predict its performance can be challenging, as can be taking the measurements of the wind and of the turbine.

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Dr Peter Freere, PhD, M.E., B.E., B.Sc., MFESA, MIEEE, MIEAust


An electrical engineer also with degrees in physics and mathematics.  He specialises in renewable energy and power electronics/electric motor control. 

Peter just completed eight years as Assoc. Prof at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa, to get research started in the electrical engineering department.

He spent 4 years at Kathmandu University (Nepal) starting research in the electrical engineering department and started an energy development and manufacturing company with students (KAPEG – now sold on).

Peter became aware of difficulties of testing and modelling wind turbines while lecturing at Monash University in the 1990s.  He noted especially the difference between wind tunnel tests, IEC standard tests and field tests.  He developed this further in Nepal and South Africa to understand why there are the differences.

He worked in Switzerland on automated test systems, in Germany on the design and control of scrap steel induction smelters (15MW), battery chargers for electric forklift trucks in South Africa, microhydro development in the Solomon Islands and Nepal.  He assisted development of technical English and electrical engineering publication writing in Korea, improved stoves in Vietnam, and worked on new photovoltaic control system (patented in South Africa), fatigue inside electronic transistors, and is now working on tree sucker identification via electrical methods.  Peter recently assisted in the automation of an organic chicken farm and involved in specialised consulting.

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