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Victoria backs low carbon manufacturing

Businesses are being supported to upskill and capitalise on opportunities to manufacture low carbon products, with a new Low Carbon Manufacturing Grant Program announced by the Victorian government. The $7 million program will help Victorian businesses become more competitive in a low carbon economy, while strengthening the state’s supply chain resilience and creating high-skilled jobs. The program includes two streams. The Business Readiness Stream will provide grants of up to $50,000 for small to medium sized manufacturers to access business services, advice or expertise to pivot towards low carbon and renewable energy supply chains. Through the Business Growth Stream grants of between $50,000 and $250,000 will be available for businesses to purchase or develop new equipment, skills or technology to manufacture components and products that support the transition to net zero emissions. The Victorian Budget 2022/23 included the establishment of the $120 million Victorian Industry Fund to support Victoria’s economic recovery, generate new jobs and boost advanced manufacturing.

UNSW engineers retrofit diesel engine to run on hydrogen

UNSW Sydney engineering researchers have successfully converted a diesel engine to run as a hydrogen-diesel hybrid engine, with an 85 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. According to a statement from the university, the team, led by Professor Shawn Kook, spent about 18 months on their “Hydrogen-Diesel Direct Injection Dual-Fuel System” which can allow diesel engines to run using 90 per cent hydrogen as fuel. Any diesel engine used in trucks and power equipment could potentially be retrofitted to the new hybrid system, the team believes. Kook said the invention “could play a big part in making our carbon footprint much smaller, especially in Australia with all our mining, agriculture and other heavy industries where diesel engines are widely used… Being able to retrofit diesel engines that are already out there is much quicker than waiting for the development of completely new fuel cell systems that might not be commercially available at a larger scale for at least a decade.” Their new paper, in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, can be accessed here.

Birdon wins US boat building contract

Port Macquarie, NSW boat builder Birdon has won a $US$1.2 billion contract to build 27 vessels for the US Coast Guard, with construction to take place in the US. Birdon, originally a dredging business, will build vessels up to 54 metres long for coastal and inland waterways, including the Mississippi River. Birdon will build 16 river buoy tenders and 11 inland construction tenders, replacing vessels which have seen up to 78 years. Birdon also builds bridge erection boats (pictured) for the US Army.

ANSTO offers nuclear science and technology scholarships

The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) is offering FutureNow Scholarships to young Australians. The scheme, worth $200,000, will provide up to $35,000 to individuals to fund their research in 2023. Supported by the NSW Government, recipients should be graduates or early- career researchers working on industry-focused research projects. Applicable areas include health, radiopharmaceuticals, defence, space, environment, nuclear fuel cycle or nuclear technologies.

Wellnex Life launches secures Chemist Warehouse distribution

Health and wellness product manufacturer Wellnex Life has confirmed distribution through Chemist Warehouse for two product ranges. The company announced Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Performance Inspired’ supplement brands were available in store and online through the retail giant. The company also has rights to Asian distribution for the brand. And Ocean Road Dairies, in partnership with Wellnex Life, has begun manufacturing organic A2 infant formula and will commence delivery to Chemist Warehouse distribution centres. Wellnex Life has reaffirmed guidance for FY23 year revenue of $29 million. Wellnex Life CEO George Karafotias said: “We’re excited to be diversifying our portfolio of products as we look to build our presence in the health and wellness market and be one of the first companies to break into the over-the-counter medicinal cannabis market.

Asahi buys Byron Bay soft drink brand

Asahi drinks has purchased the business of Byron Bay, NSW soft drink and mixer brand StrangeLove. The purchase for an undisclosed sum, comes as StrangeLove has doubled sales during the Covid-19 pandemic period. StrangeLove was founded in 2013 by James Bruce and Stafford Fox, with their first product prototype release an organic ginger beer. Woolworths recently began stocking the brand which includes 25 product lines. The founders plan to remain with the business.

Picture: Birdon bridge erection boat

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