Govt dishes out $7m in commercialisation grants

Joseph Brookes
Senior Reporter

The federal government has handed 15 Australian manufacturers a total of $7.1 million to help their commercialised products, with New South Wales projects accounting for nearly half the initiatives funded.

Projects received the grants of up to $1 million on a co-funding basis, with government funding to make up no more than half of total project costs, and must fall within one of the government’s six priority areas of manufacturing.

Recipients in tranches two and three of the government’s Commercialisation Fund were announced by Industry Minister Christian Porter on Tuesday and include ultra-efficient heating and cooling systems, fuel cells, a brain injury assessment device and portable x-ray imaging technology.

“These grants will enable companies to undertake further research and development activities, improve engineering and design elements and invest in new technologies so they can scale up operations and bring their products to market,” Minister Porter said.

“By providing the right economic conditions for manufacturers to secure further investment opportunities and realise their potential, the Government is also building Australia’s global competitiveness and creating new local jobs.”

Seeley International. Image: Facebook

The company to receive the most government funding in the latest rounds was Adelaide-based air conditioning manufacturer Seeley International. It received a $1 million grant for a $2.6 million project for an Australian-based manufacturing line heating and cooling units.

The company released a gas heater in 2015 which was criticised by dealers and found to regularly malfunction. Units had to be repaired at significant cost to the company, which successfully sued a parts manufacturer over the incident and was awarded $13 million in damages last month.

It’s federal funding will go towards the design and development of an “ultra-high efficiency roof top Heating Ventilation and Cooling Unit”.

The commercialisation funding is from the federal government’s $30 million Commercialisation Fund, which is administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) in collaboration with the five other Industry Growth Centres and the CSIRO.

Projects must be within the government’s six manufacturing priority areas, which underpin the wider $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative. The areas are medical products, food and beverage, resources technology and critical minerals processing, recycling and clean energy, defence, and space.

The latest 15 projects to receive co-funding represent a total investment of $25.1 million, with 70 per cent of total funds ($17.95 million) contributed by the manufacturing industry and the remainder ($7.16 million) derived from Commercialisation Fund.

The AMGC released the following full list of recipients in the latest rounds:

  • Nedstack Australia (NSW) – Clean Energy – Commercial prototype development of Australia’s first utility-scale PEM fuel cell leveraging Australian supply chain in collaboration with LAVO. Total project commitment $3.56million ($825,000 grant funds)
  • Seeley International (SA) – Clean Energy – Accelerated design and development of an Australian-based manufacturing line for an ultra-high efficiency roof top Heating Ventilation and Cooling Unit (HVAC). Total project commitment $2.64million ($1.0million grant funds)
  • Energy Renaissance (NSW) – Clean Energy – Support for process, technology and workforce skills at pilot manufacturing facility for lithium-ion batteries to prepare for full facility deployment. Total project commitment $1.48million ($525,072 grant funds)
  • ActionLaser (NSW) – Recycling – Funding to establish an Australian manufacturing capability of filters used in recycling of polymers, replacing current imported products. Total project commitment $1.3million ($558,500 grant funds)
  • Empower Energy (NSW) – Clean Energy – Deliver Australia’s first cost-effective solar-storage product designed for Australian climate, remoteness, bushfire risk, and coastal living conditions. Total project commitment $1.24million ($487,500 grant funds)
  • Micro-X (SA) – Medical – Development of ultralight mobile x-ray trolley system for use in outdoor clinical or veterinary settings. Total project commitment $1.17million ($525,072 grant funds)
  • Additive Assurance (VIC) – Defence – Commercialisation of a new quality assurance system for powder bed fusion additive manufacturing. Total project commitment $1.1million ($546,000 grant funds)
  • Hone (Rapid Phenotyping) (NSW) – Food and Beverage – Commercialisation of a hand-held device to measure the protein content of grains, to assist with determining quality of raw materials in grain supply chains, for example high-protein or low gluten grains for food production. Total project commitment $1.0million ($500,938 grant funds)
  • HeadsafeIP (NSW) – Medical – Manufacturing of Nurochek: a fast, portable medical device providing objective assessment of brain injuries. Total project commitment $895,000 ($447,500 grant funds)
  • carbonTRACK (VIC) – Clean Energy – Development and commercialisation of mass market Smart Gateway (cellular & Wi-Fi device) to monitor and control renewable energy assets and electronic devices. Product maximises energy efficiency while minimising costs and CO2 emissions and supports virtual power plants, virtual energy networks and energy trading. Total project commitment $877,000 ($428,500 grant funds)
  • Hydrogen Technology Holdings (QLD) – Food and Beverage – Develop a commercial-ready hydrogenated water infusion machine to prolong lifespan, health, and commercial value of wild caught and commercially farmed Finfish. Total project commitment $787,198 ($371,599 grant funds)
  • ZellaDC (WA) – Resource Technology & Critical Minerals Processing – Development of a next-generation micro Data Centre, using new lightweight, fire retardant materials to deliver design, scalability and energy efficiency gains. The program will also replace materials currently imported into Australia. Total project commitment $813,100 ($406,550 grant funds)
  • SBN Technology (VIC) – Medical – Development and commercialisation of AxIT Rehab, a medical-grade strength assessment system specifically for rehabilitation. Total project commitment $528,000 ($239,000 grant funds)
  • Bestie Kitchen (NSW) – Food and Beverage – Commercialisation and launch of nutraceutical gummy chews for cats and dogs, supported by holistic health and wellness app. Total project commitment $344,850 ($149,925 grant funds)
  • Pryde Fabrication (QLD) – Recycling – Establish a manufacturing facility to manufacture bus shelter ‘J poles’ from recycled plastic, currently made from steel, to reduce corrosion issues and maintenance costs, while addressing plastic waste. Total project commitment $200,000 ($100,000 grant funds)

The Commercialisation Fund has now funded 21 projects.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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