Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

Queensland government lauds $2 billion wind farm project

Energy giant ACCIONA Energia has announced development of a new $2 billion wind project in Queensland, covering 1,000 megawatts at Herries Range Wind Farm, within the MacIntyre Wind Precinct. The precinct’s value and generation capacity will now be $4 billion and 2,000 megawats, said the state government, enough to power 1.4 million Queensland homes. “This deal also demonstrates that our bold vision to deliver an energy system that is made up of 70 per cent renewable energy by 2032, has boosted investor interest,” said premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. The 180-turbine Herries Range project is predicted to support up to 600 additional jobs during construction, and will be ACCIONA Energia’s third clean energy project in Queensland.

UOW projects awarded funding through ARC Discovery scheme

Fourteen Projects led by University of Wollongong researchers have attracted over $6 million in funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) through the Discovery Projects scheme. Among project leads are Distinguished Professor Anatoly Rozenfeld, investigating a space radiation monitoring system for safe space missions; Distinguished Professor Xiaolin Wang, for research on giant magnetic-thermoelectricity in topological materials; Professor Gordon Wallace, for a project generating advanced knowledge of wireless-powered electromaterials and novel wireless biotechnology in medical engineering; Professor Alex Remennikov, for structural safety guidelines for accidental hydrogen explosion hazards; Senior Professor Weihua Li, for liquid metal composite tactile sensors, enabling “future manipulators and prosthetics to detect complex forces for precision manipulation”; and Senior Professor Geoffrey Spinks, to develop smart materials for atmospheric water management and water harvesting.

CEFC finance aims accelerate Australian uptake of electric vehicles

New finance will help get more Australians on the road to owning an electric vehicle, according to the CEFC, with a commitment of up to $20.5 million to make green car loans cheaper through Taurus Motor Finance (Taurus). Eligible borrowers will receive discounted interest rates on green car loans, compared to the rate for internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. CEFC Head of Debt Markets Richard Lovell said: “Australia faces a significant challenge to decarbonise its economy. The transport sector is the third largest source of national greenhouse gas emissions1 and our efforts to get to net zero emissions by 2050 must include a focus the way we travel. As more Australians consider buying an EV to cut their carbon footprint, more affordable finance will provide a powerful incentive to convince them to commit.” The Arcadis Global Electric Vehicle Catalyst Index 2021 estimated that in 2030 Australia will have just 20 EVs per 1000 people in Australia, compared with 100 per 1,000 people in Italy and 120 in California.

Queensland government announces support for blood products factory

The Queensland Government said on Friday that it is supporting development of the $352 million Aegros facility in Springfield, Ipswich through the Invested in Queensland program. The facility is scheduled to be fully operational in mid-2025 and will create an estimated 348 jobs in the state. It will use “HaemaFrac”, an Australian technology developed by Aegros for plasma fractionation, which purifies plasma into life-saving plasma derived medicinal products (PDMPs). Capacity will be 1,000,000 litres annually. Current fractionation methods haven’t improved for more than eight decades, according to a statement from the Queensland government, and while plasma collection is world class, it only meets almost half of local demand. The new Aegros facility is expected to make Australia self-sufficient in life-saving medicine manufacture, as well as a player in the $19 billion global PDMP market.

Make it a great Aussie Xmas, says Australian Made

The Australian Made Campaign Limited has called on shoppers to support Australian makers and growers this festive season by buying products certified with the iconic green and gold kangaroo. AMCL launched its annual ‘Christmas Crackers’ campaign on Friday,  teaming up with media personality and entrepreneur Shelley Craft to encourage the nation to “make it a great Aussie Christmas” by purchasing locally made and grown products. Chief Executive Ben Lazzaro said: “From Australian Made swimwear, skincare and sporting equipment to toys, toolboxes and tableware, there is an Aussie option in almost every product category – right down to the Christmas cards and wrapping paper”. The Christmas Crackers Gift Guide can be viewed here and the Christmas Crackers campaign will run across radio, digital and social media channels.

ATMAC grants awarded to exporters

Two Agricultural Trade and Market Access Cooperation program (ATMAC) grants will assist rendered meat products, hides, skins and leather exporters accelerate trade expansion and market diversification, the federal government said on Monday. $460,900 was awarded to the Australian Renderers Association (ARA) for specialist advice on importing and supply chain logistics, and training resources to improve understanding of the nutritional aspects of rendered products. $562,300 was awarded to the Australian Hide Skin and Leather Exporters Association (AHSLEA) to promote the environmental and sustainability credentials of Australian hides and skins. Dennis King, Executive Officer of both the ARA and AHSLEA, said international consumers, particularly in the EU and US, “are increasingly demanding evidence that products are ethically manufactured and demonstrate high environmental credentials… By promoting sustainable credentials and ethical production we will diversify opportunities for high value leather products and better engage with key consumers in these regions.”

Professor urges perspective following REDcycle collapse

Professor Leonie Barner, Director of QUT’s Centre for a Waste-Free World, said that those disappointed by the suspension of the REDcycle soft plastics recycling program could focus their green efforts elsewhere. Soft plastics in landfill represented “a small amount compared to all the other waste we are producing,” said Barner, and a small portion of the estimated three tonnes of waste every Australian produced annually. “Soft plastic is mainly a problem when it’s litter – so joining a clean-up initiative in your area like Clean Up Australia, or going to a beach clean-up, is a good alternative action if you can’t drop off your soft plastics at your local supermarket,” she said. “It’s really important to look at the whole issue, and not just one single issue like soft plastics. Look at what types of waste you are producing, and how you can reduce that waste – what you can do to not produce waste in the beginning.”

Picture: Aegros co-founders Professor Hari Nair and John Manusu (credit


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