A$4.8m for projects to boost innovation in resources sector

30th November 2017

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Eight projects that will boost cross-industry innovation, collaboration and sustainability in the resources sector will receive A$4.8-million in funding through the Australian government’s industry growth centres initiative, acting Industry, Innovation and Science Minister Michaelia Cash announced on Thursday.

The projects, funded through National Energy Resources Australia’s (NERA’s) Oil, Gas and Energy Resources Growth Centre, would leverage a further A$5.7-million from industry partners.

"These industry-led projects will help secure the Australian industry’s position at the forefront of global technology development,” Cash said.

The funded projects include a feasibility study led by the University of Western Australia into the LNG Futures Living Lab, which will be a fully functioning, small scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant designed to enable researchers and innovators to test and validate new products, services, and process using an Industry 4.0 platform. The University of Western Australia would be offered A$1.7-million in funding for this project.

“The planned LNG Futures Facility is a leading example of an Industry 4.0 Testlab in Australia. It will bring Australian industry, in this case developers of LNG process technologies, to the forefront of global developments,” Cash said.

“This national, open-access resource will provide direct benefits to Australian industry and researchers across the energy resources sector. It will allow firms to test new technologies without putting the operations of a real LNG plant at risk, and provide advanced training for researchers and students, ensuring Australia has the required skills for the future.”

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, said other projects funded through NERA included innovative clean technology projects for the energy resources sector.

“This highly competitive funding round received strong interest from clean technology innovators keen to partner with businesses in the oil and gas, coal and uranium industries.”

Key projects include:
• Developing a low-cost, mobile water treatment system for coal seam gas developments which produces clean, reusable water. The system will reduce plant operating costs and improve its environmental footprint. Ali-Jak Environmental Solutions will receive A$1.125-million in funding for this project.
• Delivery of a new methane capture technology. This new technology has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Australian underground coal mines. NERA has awarded Our Energy Group A$750 000 in funding to deliver this technology.
• Boosting capabilities for Australia’s energy resources and mining equipment, technology and services sector by developing transferable methods and skills for assessing the radiological impacts of projects. Flinders University will lead this project and receive a grant of A$208 600.

NERA is one of six industry-led growth centres established under the federal government’s A$238-million Industry Growth Centres Initiative. It is base funding from the government.