Manufacturing news briefs — stories you might have missed

ChemX signs MoU with lithiumion battery company C4V

ASX-listed highpurity battery materials development company ChemX Materials has announced the signing of a nonbinding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with USbased battery technology company C4V. C4V is involved in some of the world’s largest gigafactory developments, including Recharge Industries’ gigafactory in Geelong, Australia, as well as iM3NY’s gigafactory in the US. ChemX said the news was a major step as it advances a vision to become “a sustainable and reliable global supplier of highpurity battery materials and provides a framework to ensure its battery materials meet C4V’s requirements. ChemX’s HPM project is based on owning its own manganese ore mineral deposit and using the company’s purification flowsheet “to produce reliable, highpurity volumes of battery grade manganese in the Tier 1 jurisdiction of Australia.” CEO Mark Tory said: “The nature of battery materials means it is essential to enter into early engagement with potential customers to ensure products are made to specification, which this MoU provides for. We will now work with C4V through the supply chain qualification process with the goal of progressing towards a binding offtake agreement for HPM produced by ChemX.”

Energy storage installations broke record in 2022: SunWiz 

Record amounts of battery energy storage systems were installed in Australian homes and businesses in 2022, according to a new analysis by energy industry consultancy SunWiz. Installations linked to solar systems in 2022 grew by 55 per cent versus the previous year, shown by a compilation of government, industry, and energy market operator data sources. SunWiz found 47,100 residential energy storage systems were installed last year. Warwick Johnston, the company’s Managing Director, said, “Australians responded to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, COVID, the energy price crisis and worsening climate fuelled disasters by installing home solar systems linked to batteries, in an effort to increase their energy independence, resilience and self-reliance… With skyrocketing electricity prices, this data shows Australian households and businesses are taking back power from the energy system by turning to cheaper, renewable sources of energy.” The report can be accessed here.

NRF could “spur and scale” economic diversification: STA

Science and Technology Australia, a body representing 115,000 Australian scientists and technologists, welcomed the passage of the National Reconstruction Fund legislation through the senate this week. According to CEO Misha Schubert it would give Australia a powerful new vehicle to “spur and scale” the nation’s economic development and diversification. “It will help to deepen Australia’s scientific and technological innovation – which is key to strengthening our national prosperity, creating jobs and securing new income streams,”  said Schubert “This significantly boosts Australia’s pool of investment capital for next-generation materials development, value-adding and advanced manufacturing – the foundations of a strong, modern economy. This will help turbo-charge sovereign capability and economic complexity.”

Universities welcome NRF passage

Universities will be a driving force in Australia’s renewed manufacturing push through the NRF, according to Universities Australia. Targeted investment in areas that span across renewable and low-emission technologies, to agriculture and defence capabilities, will support the commercialisation of new ideas and drive long-term, sustainable economic growth, the group said in a statement on Wednesday. UA CEO Catriona Jackson, “Rebuilding our sovereign manufacturing capability is critical to Australia’s future success and safety, and universities are full of the ideas and expertise to make that happen… Each day Australia’s universities undertake world-class research across a range of areas crucial to Australia’s future, building the pipeline of innovative ideas which boost productivity and help us better understand our society.”

Precia Molen acquires NZ’s Test Assured

Commercial weighing company Precia Molen Group, has announced the acquisition of 90 per cent of the shares of Test Assured in New Zealand. Founded in 2015 by Nigel Dacre, Test Assured is New Zealand’s largest independent weighbridge, hopper and high-capacity loader inspection specialist, and has a turnover of approximately NZD 600,000 ($559,000.) Dacre will continue as Managing Director and retain a 10 per cent stake. “One year after the acquisition of Scaletec, which specializes in the sale and service of industrial weighing instruments, Precia Molen wants to strengthen its position in New Zealand, an extremely promising market for establishing its presence in the Asia-Pacific region,” said Frédéric Mey, Chairman of the Board of Precia SA.

$6 million feasibility study for sustainable aviation fuel biorefinery announced

Jet Zero Australia has begun a feasibility study for a new sustainable aviation fuels refinery in Queensland, which could produce more than 100 million litres of SAF a year for use in domestic flights, including by Qantas. The Queensland government has said it will contribute $760,000 towards the $6 million study, which could lead to construction as early as 2024. The project is the first investment under the Qantas and Airbus sustainable fuel partnership, and would use Lanzajet’s “alcohol to jet” technology. The planned facility would use ethanol from sugarcane and wheat starch, which would come from suppliers in North Queensland. Deputy premier Steven Miles said Queensland had a “rich supply of feedstock” and was well-placed for the shift to SAF. “This co-funding by the Queensland Government, Qantas, Airbus and partnership with Lanzajet is a great example of working together to stand-up the industries of the future,” he said.

Deakin launches $9 million motion simulator

Deakin University officially launched what it says is Australia’s most advanced motion simulator on Thursday. The $9 million Genesis simulator (pictured) at the Waurn Ponds campus is designed to provide advanced research and innovation opportunities for mobility technologies and various industry sectors, Deakin said in a statement. The Genesis — made by UK company Ansible Motion — is the only of its type in Australia and the only one in the world in a university. The project was co-funded through a $5 million grant through the state government’s Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund (VHESIF.) Deakin’s Director of the Institute for Intelligent Systems Research and Innovation (IISRI), Professor Saeid Nahavandi, said the Genesis Simulator would lead ground-breaking research and innovation partnerships. “Opportunities for advanced research and innovation with our new Genesis simulator include improving driver safety and training, automotive testing and design, fast-tracking transport prototyping, self-driving, and autonomous mobility research,” said Nahavandi.Picture: credit Deakin

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