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IDT Australia raises $2 million from shareholders

Melbourne pharmaceutical manufacturer IDT Australia has raised $2 million via an over-subscribed share purchase plan to existing shareholders. The raising followed the successful completion of a $5 million placement to professional and sophisticated investors. The total capital raised will be used to fund the company’s capital expenditure programme and additional working capital. IDT CEO Paul McDonald said the strong support for the raising put the company in an excellent position to expand the business and drive significant growth.

Western Australia’s EV charging network expands

The Western Australian EV Network continues its roll out across regional areas with the first of eight electric vehicle fast chargers for the Kimberley now operational in Broome. Located at Town Beach carpark, Horizon Power’s 150-kilowatt fast charger will allow drivers to top up their electric vehicles in as little as 20 minutes. Horizon Power’s will open another station in Carnarvon next month, while construction has started in Exmouth, Denham, Derby and Karratha. The State Government’s WA EV Network is being delivered by Horizon Power and Synergy and will include 98 charging stations across 49 locations connecting Perth and regional WA.

RME appoints new engineering manager

Russell Mineral Equipment announced on Monday that it has appointed Simon Thompson as its new General Manager of Engineering, following a global search assisted by recruitment specialist Korn Ferry. Thompson is a member of RME’s global leadership team and provides “key leadership to support and oversee prototype commercialisation, risk assessment, and project and product optimisation across the business” said the company. Thompson was RME’s Global Engineering Manager for Asset Support. RME Founder, Executive Chairman and Chief Engineer on the company’s Chief Executive Team, Dr John Russell, said “We are delighted to announce Simon’s appointment following a comprehensive global search. Simon is an incredibly valued member of RME… In addition to being an excellent engineer, Simon is also a dynamic, accessible and compelling leader.”

EVOS launches new Australian made electric vehicle charger

Brisbane-based electric vehicle (EV) energy management and AC charging company EVOS has unveiled its new charger, the SB7. The 7kW charger is designed in Australia and will be made here, the company said, and is created for easy installation. It can add 35 kilometres of range per hour of charging time, and has a built-in energy management system to intuitively select the ideal idle time to charge the vehicle at low costs. Ampol will act as the national distributor partner for EVOS and the SB7 EV Charger, in addition to EVOS’s Fleet Home22 Charger. “We asked ourselves what the EV owner needs from a charger: it has to be easy to install with no restrictions as to where it can go on a property, be easy to monitor remotely and help them manage their costs in an era when everyone is concerned with energy prices, and it has to look good,” said EVOS CEO and co-founder, Marcelo Salgado.

Circular Plastics facility completed in Victoria

The Practical Completion of a new plastic recycling facility has been reached for Circular Plastics Australia (PET) in Altona North, Victoria. Circular Plastics is a joint venture between Pact Group Holdings, Cleanaway Waste Management, Asahi Beverages, and Coca-Cola Europacific Partners that is leading the circular economy by building the most advanced PET plastic recycling facilities in the region. In partnership with Aliro Group and ISPT the new facility delivered by TMX Global will be used to recycle around one billion plastic PET beverage bottles each year. The hot washed flake and food-grade resin produced by this facility is certified to international standards and will be used to make new recycled PET beverage bottles and food packaging locally. The CPA (PET) project in Altona is co-funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments through the Recycling Victoria – Recycling Modernisation Fund.

$50 million for regional clean energy supply chains

The federal government will invest $50 million to support the development of secure and diversified clean energy supply chains in the Indo-Pacific region. The contribution will support an initial round of studies to accelerate the development of investment-ready projects in the region, which could include products and activities like solar ingots, wafer production or battery cell component manufacturing, according to the government. The investment follows the announcement of the Quad Clean Energy Supply Chain Diversification Program at the May 2023 Quad Leaders’ Summit. The Program will support the implementation of the Quad Principles on Clean Energy Supply Chains in the Indo-Pacific by funding research and development and feasibility studies in solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, hydrogen electrolysers and batteries.

India and Australia cooperate on skills shortages

Skills and Training Minister Brendan O’Connor met India’s Minister of Education and Minister of Skills Development and Entrepreneurship Shri Dharmendra Pradhan in New Delhi to discuss how the two nations can collaborate to combat ongoing skill shortages. The meeting followed the first dialogue between the Ministers since Minister Pradhan visited Australia in August 2022. Ministers Pradhan and O’Connor discussed international skills shortages in critical areas such as digital, the care sector and the clean economy, and reflected on how India and Australia may be able to support each other in tackling their domestic skills shortages. The ministers will meet again later this year when they co-chair the Australia India Education and Skills Council (AIESC) meeting in India with Jason Clare, Minister for Education. The expanded AIESC will provide a framework to promote and chart the strategic direction for policy development and exchange in education, skills and research across areas of mutual interests.

Researchers explore potential of marine rennet substitute

Milk-clotting enzymes found in marine species may one day help cheesemakers meet demand, according to a statement from University of NSW. UNSW’s Associate Professor Jian Zhao, a food microbiologist, said the future of cheese production could be reliant on our oceans, which are a vast untapped resource for obtaining food ingredients. Curdling, an essential step in cheese production, is done using through the enzyme rennet, which is derived from young calf’s stomachs or other sources. “A seaweed-derived milk coagulant would be preferable for industrial-scale cheese-making due to the relative abundance of seaweed available in the world compared to animals,” said Zhao. Zhao and his team recently identified a seaweed species with sufficient caseinolytic activity – milk-clotting ability – to produce cheese and comparable yield to that obtained using traditional rennet. The statement cautions that between food regulators and industry appetite, “it will be some time – likely decades – before we see cheese made from seaweed coagulant hit supermarket shelves.”

SmartSat and ESA to collaborate on Earth observation research

Last week the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre (SmartSat) announced it had signed a new letter of intent with European Space Agency’s (ESA) Φ-lab to collaborate on Earth Observation (EO) research. SmartSat said the agreement built on an existing relationship with Φ-lab, who supported cosine to develop the HyperScout imager payload, which is currently being integrated into the SmartSat-led South Australian Kanyini satellite. SmartSat CEO Professor Andy Koronios, who signed the agreement in Rome, said, “We have also identified new collaboration opportunities between researchers at the Queensland University of Technology and Φ-lab to develop advanced AI capabilities using hyperspectral satellite imagery. This will create the next generation of predictive intelligence that can forecast and monitor agricultural and environmental activities and disaster events with greater accuracy.” As part of the new agreement, SmartSat and Φ-lab plan to establish an exchange program for research personnel and SmartSat PhD students to undertake internships at Φ-lab, slated to commence early -2024 for PhD students specialising in Onboard AI and Synthetic Aperture Radar.

CDU trades facility ready for development

The new Trades Training Facility to be built at Charles Darwin University (CDU) will unlock education potential across Northern Australia, according to the university, with the facility now ready for development and tender applications for construction now being assessed and a decision anticipated by the end of the month. The 2,400 square metre, two-storey building will feature a heavy equipment precinct, an assembly area and workshop space, an industrial sand pit, and classrooms, and is projected to cost $10 million, with $4.8 million invested from the Northern Territory Government’s annual VET Capital Grant. “Initially we will be training carpentry and roof plumbing, but we aim to teach a number of different trade courses here,” said CDU TAFE Pro Vice-Chancellor Mike Hamilton.

Picture: credit EVOS

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