The four-year, $380 million Recycling and Clean Energy Commercialisation Hub (REACH), headquartered at Deakin University’s Future Economy Precinct, will be officially opened on Monday by federal assistant minister for education Anthony Chisholm.
REACH is one of six hubs each receiving $50 million as part of the Trailblazer Universities Program, selected from 21 applications.
Other funding for REACH is from its industry and education partners, which include JET Technology, Clean Energy Resources Australia and Viva Energy Australia.
According to a statement from Chisholm, the hub represents the “single largest clean energy ecosystem in Australia” and is expected to generate $1.4 billion in revenue and 2,500 jobs over the next decade.
“Each year Australians contribute more than 7.6 million tonnes of food to landfill annually, costing over $36.6 billion and producing 17.5 million tonnes of CO2,” said Chisholm.
“REACH has partnered with JET Technology to bring industry and researchers together to focus on converting organic waste from the agriculture, dairy and fishery sectors by drastically shortening composting time so it can be used to make new products such as cow feed, fertiliser and textiles.
“Developing sovereign capability here in Australia is making our manufacturing greener and creating new job opportunities for the industries of tomorrow.”
Japan’s JET is working with Deakin researchers on the company’s Environmental Recycling System (ERS), initially focusing on converting apple pomace – apple skin, pulp, seeds and stems – into a bioproduct for the textile industry.
Howard Ju, the Managing Director of JET Technology Corporation Australia, said, “REACH provides JET ideal opportunities to work with research organisations, in this case Deakin University, to prove and demonstrate an innovative technology newly introduced to Australia targeting the organic waste and decarbonisation issues.”
REACH’s funding was announced by the previous federal government in May 2022.
Federal Trailblazer funding is worth $362 million in total, with the program aimed at improving the commercialisation of publicly-funded R&D. Each of the Trailblazer hubs has a term of four years.
Picture: Howard Ju, Research Fellow Motilal Mathesh and Professor Colin Barrow (credit Deakin University)