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Halo Food reports record operating profit

Australia and New Zealand dairy and wellness product manufacturer Halo Food has announced record operating EBITDA for FY22 and strong sales of its own branded and contract manufactured product range. The company moved from a group EBITDA loss of $2.3 million in FY 21 to a profit of $4.6 million. Sales in the latest year were up 189 per cent on the previous corresponding period to $59.9 million. Halo CEO Danny Rotman said: “The group has now rounded its manufacturing capabilities including powders, long-life UHT drinks in a ready to drink format and most recently the snacking and bar plant. The diversified offering provides Halo with a unique competitive edge, scale and diversification in the Australian health and wellness marketplace.”

Construction starts on Project EnergyConnect

Construction has now started at the $2.3 billion Project EnergyConnect, an electricity transmission line linking renewables-rich South Australia with coal-dominated NSW. NSW transmission company Transgrid has begun work on its share of the 900 kilometre link from Robertstown in South Australia to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales. Work on the South Australian section of the project started in February. Project EnergyConnect will improve grid reliability, increase energy trade between the states, and spur development of new wind and solar projects. It will also make possible a planned South-West Renewable Energy Zone in New South Wales government.

South Australian products debut on Japanese e-commerce site

South Australian food, wine and beverage products have joined more than 50,000 businesses across more than 30 countries, selling products through Rakuten Japan, the country’s largest online retailer, with 1.4 billion global members. A new ‘Tasting South Australia’ page on the Rakuten e-commerce site showcases over 400 of South Australia’s premium food, wine and beverage products. The page features beer, gin, wine, honey, seafood, sweets, spreads and pet food from companies including NovaFarms, Buzz Honey, Hither & Yon, Prohibition Liquor Co, Southern Kuya, Apiwraps and Pet Snacks. Visit the SA page here.

Archer achieves chip feature size less than 15nm

Materials technology company Archer Materials has achieved quantum computer chip features smaller than 15 nanometres (nm), which it says is well on the way to its minimum goal of 10 nm. 15 nm is the equivalent of 100 atoms across. The company developed advanced lithography processes to fabricate the semiconductor features as part of its biochip development project (pictured). The company has now begun the process of nanofabrication with the aim of achieving less than 10 nm feature size. Archer CEO Dr Mohammad Choucair said achieving this level of miniaturisation was “a great outcome”. He added that, “We have now prepared a suite of advanced lithography processes to reliable control fabrication for our device miniaturisation and scaling as we continue to advance towards breaking through the 10 nm barrier.”

Autonomous EV project launches in Bundaberg

A pilot program in Bundaberg for an autonomous electric vehicle, named ZOE2, was officially launched on Wednesday. Queensland transport minister Mark Bailey said the pilot was an Australian first, and the all-electric car “can adapt its speed to a school zone, move through several intersections and summon a driver-less service on a public road.” 150 people would be able to ride in the car during the pilot (booking can be made here) according to a statement from Bailey. A $3.4 million program of research focussed on how ZOE2’s technology will interact with our roads, its drivers and other road users is being jointly funded by the state’s Department of Transport and Main Roads, Queensland University of Technology and the iMOVE CRC.

Registrations of interest open for new Cyber Academy

A new Cyber Academy run by the University of Wollongong, Deloitte, TAFE NSW and Swinburne University of Technology is accepting registrations of interest in a blended three-year “earn as you learn” program. NSW minister for skills and training Alister Henskens said the new academy would fast-track 1,200 careers in cyber security sector, harnessing “world-leading expertise to ensure a pipeline of highly skilled graduates can hit the ground running and provide vital protection for our economy in the cyber sector. The Australian-first program is for a Diploma of Information Technology (Cyber Security) from TAFE NSW and a Bachelor of Computer Science (Cyber Security) from UOW, with Swinburne University to deliver places in Victoria. More information can be found here.

Ten recommendations made to states on energy transition

State governments should refocus attention from large-scale renewable energy projects to the immense decarbonisation opportunities available from the $25 billion spend to-date by households and businesses on distributed energy resources – including rooftop solar, batteries, electric vehicles, and smart appliances, according to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). IEEFA makes 10 recommendations for state governments regarding the accelerated uptake and integration of distributed energy resources in Australia, including investment in more energy efficient housing, removing gas connections from all buildings as gas has high-level methane emissions and its’ role as a transition fuel has finished, and supporting managed EV charging including national technical standards and planning requirements. The report can be read here.

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