Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Industry super fund is first to divest from oil and gas

Industry super fund NGS Super has has become the first industry fund to totally divest from its investments in fossil fuel energy companies. Education and Aged Care sector fund NGS Super sold its holdings in oil and gas companies, worth $191 million as it moved towards a portfolio with net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The fund sold $75 million in shares in Woodside Energy Group and $50 million in Santos, as well as holdings in ConocoPhillips, Hess Corp and Beach Energy. The sell-off includes explorers as well as producers. Reuters quoted NGS chief investment officer Ben Squires who said: “We’re divesting from oil and gas companies, in particular in the Australian context Santos and Woodside, as we’ve identified those companies as being at risk of becoming stranded in the future as the world decarbonises.”

Envirotank Pty Ltd shows off massive composite tank

Industry group Composites Australia took to social media to show off this massive composites tank (pictured) – but because most are buried underground we rarely see them. Composites Australia said: “This awesome tank is one of many made in Australia by Envirotank Pty Ltd. It will store fuel underground while protecting the environment from the consequences of contamination. A heartening 96 per cent of underground fuel tanks in Australia are now made from fibreglass and Envirotank has produced over 30,000 of them. Step-change in protecting the environment from the aggressive corrosion of steel tanks came over 30 years ago by Australian innovation in sophisticated durable resin systems and fabricating technologies.”

Medlab Clinical secures European depression patent

Biotechnology company Medlab clinical has revealed that the European patent office has accepted the company’s technology to enhance medicine effectiveness in patients suffering depression. The Sydney company has conducted trials testing whether drug treatment is ineffective for many people because the drugs adversely affect the intestinal bacteria. It has shown taking anti-depressants and a clinically trialled, patented probiotic formulation to balance mood and enhance energy NRGBiotic show greater symptom remission and had a greater proportional increase in quality of life. The patent will be formally granter within three months and will be in force in 36 European jurisdictions.

Tiny optical sensors a novel answer to hospital bed sores, say researchers

University of South Australia scientists have designed tiny optical fibre sensors, which can be attached to the upper surface of a mattress to monitor movement and record heart and respiratory rates. The unobtrusive sensors can detect when a hospital patient turns over, leaves a bed, or just remains motionless, picking up their breathing, and alert nurses if necessary. Lead researcher Dr Stephen Warren-Smith said the technology could “significantly relieve” the burden on hospital staff having to constantly monitor patients for pressure sores, which affect thousands of older Australians in hospitals and nursing home each year. “Monitoring vital signs continuously, unobtrusively and cheaply via the mattress-embedded sensors is a far better solution for both patient and nurse,” Warren-Smith said. The development is explained in a recent paper in the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

ASC establishes tech hub at Adelaide’s Lot 14

ASC is opening a new science and technology hub at Adelaide’s Lot Fourteen, which will form new research and business connections to help enhance Collins Class submarine sustainment and their Life of Type Extension (LOTE). ASC’s Lot Fourteen office will be a base for both permanent staff and visiting experts across ASC’s engineering team, the company said in a statement on Thursday, and would extend research activities undertaken at the company’s Osborne site as well as provide a new gateway for students and future partners to connect with ASC’s programs. Planned future research subjects for ASC’s Science and Technology Program include robotics, automation, artificial intelligence, knowledge management and machine learning. “This new hub will place ASC’s expert staff at the centre of activity in Adelaide’s CBD, and create even more two-way links with universities and new technology businesses,” said ASC CEO Stuart Whiley.

WA EV fast charging network progresses

This week the Western Australian government announced that JET Charge was awarded a contract to install 98 EV chargers at 49 locations around the state – creating the world’s longest continuously connected electric highway — for WA’s fast charging network. The charging highway is being delivered through Synergy and Horizon Power, and will extend more than 6,600 kilometres. The $4.1 million project will stretch from Kununurra in the north, to Esperance in the south, and east to Eucla, and each location will have both a standard and fast charger (up to 150 kilowatt DC.) The first charging station is expected to be installed in November this year, and the network to be fully operational by 2024.

New centre focusses on next-gen architecture

Swinburne University has announced a new ARC Centre for Next-Gen Architectural Manufacturing, which it says will help researchers work with colleagues around the world to transform the architectural profession. Swinburne is co-leading the centre, administered by the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and which has received $9 million in funding through the ARC Industry Transformation Training Centre scheme, including over $4 million in matched funding from industry. Swinburne Professor of Urban Futures, Mark Burry, and Dean of the School of Design and Architecture, Professor Jane Burry, are two of the Key Chief Investigators. “While advanced manufacturing has made huge strides in the past three decades, the construction industry has struggled to fully leverage these gains for sustainability, quality and productivity,” the pair said in a statement. “To access the environmental and productivity benefits of these advances, architects need the complex skills to help steer their projects towards advanced manufacturing.

New Dean of Science at UNSW

The University of NSW has appointed Scientia Professor Sven Rogge as Dean of Science, commencing October 10. Rogge is an internationally recognised expert in condensed matter physics and quantum information science, and has held several research and leadership positions at UNSW since joining from Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands in 2011. “Prof. Rogge will bring enormous experience to his role as faculty dean,” Vice-Chancellor and President of UNSW Attila Brungs said. Since joining UNSW, he has successfully steered the School of Physics and the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research portfolio. His research on condensed matter physics, in particular quantum electronics, spans the full funding pipeline from blue sky basic research through to translational applications.”

Jericho Energy Ventures and LINE Hydrogen announce partnership on hydrogen boilers

North America-based Jericho Energy Ventures and Australia’s LINE Hydrogen have executed a Memorandum of Understanding to bring a hydrogen boiler technology, known as DCCTM Boiler, to Australia. JEV subsidiary Hydrogen Technologies has patented a breakthrough method for burning hydrogen and oxygen in a vacuum chamber to create high-temperature water and steam with zero greenhouse gases and the only by-product being water. LINE Hydrogen and JEV will bring DCCTM Boilers to Australia, with the Australian company also providing JEV and customers with a priority supply of green hydrogen, and look to enter into offtake agreements for green hydrogen produced at the George Town Green Hydrogen Plant in Tasmania. LINE expects industry partners to be announced in the coming months and the first boiler installed and commissioned in Tasmania in 2023. The company said it will also investigate advanced manufacturing opportunities to manufacture the DCCTM Boiler in either Tasmania or elsewhere in Australia.

Hunter companies to hold cleantech manufacturing lunch event

Today Hunter businesses — embracing renewable energy and cleantech manufacturing, producing rechargeable batteries, renewable energy systems and electric vehicles — and others will discuss the renewables industry at two lunchtime talks today (Friday, August 12.) Port Stephens Council will host a business lunch on Friday, with Beyond Zero Emissions Hunter Engagement Manager Sam Mella leading a panel discussion including Ampcontrol CEO Rod Henderson, Energy Renaissance Managing Director Mark Chilcote, MGA Thermal Business Development Officer Arden Jarrett, and Rob Thomson, the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s Head of Emissions Intensity Reduction Programs.

Picture: Envirotank

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