The fourth round of the Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P) Program is delivering $33 million to 15 short-term industry-led collaborations.
CRC-P grants support collaborations involving a minimum of two Australian industry organisations, and one Australian research organisation.
And the Australian Government funding has to at least be matched by the project partners, with the fourth round of the program expected to leverage an additional $98 million in cash and in-kind contributions.
The 15 successful projects involve at total of 97 project partners, with one large-scale collaborative project alone listing 32 partners:
Submitted by the Water Services Association of Australia, the collaboration has a total value of $24 million, which includes a $3 million CRC-P grant, and seeks to provide solutions for Australian water and wastewater infrastructure that is at present nearing the end of its life-cycle. This includes developing industry standards for the application of reliable pipe lining products that can help extend the life of critical infrastructure.
The project is among eight of the 15 projects that will receive an additional $20 million from the $100 million Advanced Manufacturing Fund, which the Government has allocated to larger scale advanced manufacturing research projects.
The CRC-P round is also supporting the development of a graphene oxide-based environmentally friendly alternative to conventional lithium batteries.
Swinburne and Flinders University will partner with First Graphene Ltd and Kremford Pty Ltd to commercialise the Bolt Electricity Storage Technology (BEST) battery, a graphene oxide-based supercapacitor that is very thin and will provide low-cost energy storage.
In December, the new Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Graphene Enabled Industry Transformation opened its doors at the University of Adelaide.
The hub is funded with $2.6 million over five years through the Australian Government's Industrial Transformation Research Hubs scheme.
Graphene is a form of graphite with unique properties including high strength, conductivity, water repellence and anti-bacterial qualities.
The new hub will investigate graphene for its use in fire retardants, construction material, protective coatings for defence and industrial applications, and novel electrical devices.
This will encompass the full spectrum of the graphite-to-graphene value chain, from graphite exploration and supply, through to R&D development, and application in soil remediation.
Partners in the new hub include The University of Melbourne, Monash University and The University of South Australia, and partner organisations: Archer Exploration Limited; Ziltek Pty Ltd; Qingdao Huagao Energy Technology Co Ltd; and First Graphite Limited.
Graphene is the lightest, strongest, most electrically conductive material available and could become central to the digital transformation of manufacturing processes. But so far unreliable quality and poor manufacturing processes has prevented an industrial graphene market.
Swinburne has recently established the world’s first graphene certification centre to develop strict quality guidelines for the use of graphene in large-scale manufacturing.
And in 2016, First Graphite entered into a research agreement with Professor Colin Raston at Flinders University to improve graphite processing and production.
Other successful projects include:
To date, the CRC-P program has awarded $133 million to 63 collaborative research projects.
Applications for the fifth round will be open from February 2018.