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More rocket launches planned for Koonibba Test Range

German rocket manufacturer Hyimpulse is negotiating further space launches from Southern Launch’s South Australian launch facilities following the successful launch its SL1 sub-orbital vehicle from the Koonibba Test Range near Ceduna, SA (pictured). The launch tested Hyimpulse’s novel propulsion technology. The company now plans further launches from Koonibba and also of launches of an orbital vehicle from the Whalers Way Orbital Launch Complex on Eyre Peninsula. CO-CEO Hyimpulse Christian Schmirer said: “The launch from the Koonibba Test Range has given the team great confidence in the development of our rocket engines and systems. Being able to recover the rocket and understand what happened during the flight accelerates our engineering process and we are already looking forward to our next launch.”

Green metals consultation paper launched

Green metals will play a vital role in the vision of A Future Made in Australia, with the government now giving the community a say in how to best leverage Australia’s advantages to capture opportunities from the net zero transformation. The A Future Made in Australia: Unlocking Australia’s Green Iron, Steel, Alumina and Aluminium Opportunity consultation paper outlines barriers and opportunities to advancing green metals production. According to a statement from Industry Minister Ed Husic, the government is asking for views on how we can lock benefits in for future generations, building on the our metals industries. “Australia has an opportunity to leverage our abundant renewable energy resources to become a world leading green metals producer.”

Additional $31 million in aid to Ukraine

The federal government will provide a further $31 million of assistance to help meet Ukraine’s energy and humanitarian needs. The new cash brings to more than $1 billion Australia’s total assistance to the beleaguered nation, including $880 million in military support. The new contribution includes $20 million to the Ukraine Energy Support Fund, which will allow funds to be used efficiently and effectively to provide heat and electricity for Ukrainians. The Fund coordinates international donations, and in partnership with Ukraine’s Government, ensures contributions meet Ukraine’s highest priority energy needs. Also, Australia will provide $10 million of emergency humanitarian funding to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to increase access to essentials such as water, food and shelter. To improve services for persons with disabilities in Ukraine, including those needing rehabilitation from war injuries, Australia will provide $1 million to the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

REDARC launches battery charger for recreational vehicles

Vehicle electronics manufacturer REDARC has launched the Manager Alpha – a three-way battery charger for mobile power management of recreational vehicles, campers and caravans. At 55 percent smaller and 28 percent lighter than competitor systems, REDARC’s New Product Development Manager Dylan Pinkard said: “Our customers demand more power than ever, and the Manager delivers this in spades. Its innovative design allows for recovery or maintenance of the vehicle’s start battery, meaning one less thing to worry about, and remote firmware updates ensure you’re always up to date with the latest features.” Manager Alpha offers a combination of DC, AC and solar charging of auxiliary battery systems.

University of Queensland’s new vaccine development centre

The University of Queensland (UQ), in partnership with Emory University, will deliver a state-of-the-art research and innovation hub at its St Lucia campus. The partnership with the private university will accelerate the development of vaccine candidates for clinical trials by global medicine and vaccine company Sanofi as well as the Translational Research Institute and Translational Manufacturing currently under construction at the Boggo Road precinct. The $32 million project, supported by the state’s Industry Partnership Program, will include laboratories, high-end computing infrastructure, and infrastructure necessary for scaled protein expression and purification. It will also support spaces for a sterilisation and glass-wash facility, laboratory consumables storage, cold storage, meeting and office rooms.

A.I. cattle monitoring prototyped

Infarm has worked with the QLD government to create a prototype automated camera system that can detect cattle and monitor their health. The system uses AI and machine vision to track herd numbers, with plans to utilise remote surveillance nodes look for cattle injuries and lameness, as well as disease symptoms. The system also has the potential monitor for other animals, tracking native and feral numbers in the area.

UQ researchers win international competition with self-healing bioplastic

A team from UQ has presented a winning pitch for durable green polymer at the 2024 Serendipity Collective competition in Estonia, earning researchers Dr Birgitta Ebert, Dr Nasim Amiralian, and innovation manager Alex Smith a $25,000 prize. Ebert and Amiralian are researchers at UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN) and Smith is the innovation pathways team lead facilitator at the Food and Beverage Accelerator (FaBA.) The wining pitch involved a new vitrimer nanocomposite: a form of plastic that blends the recycling properties of thermoplastics with the strength and durability of thermosets. “We’re talking about material that can be used in outer space and in the ocean, and also has the ability to self-heal and be recycled,” said Amiralian in a statement. “It’s a solution that could help solve the plastic pollution problem, and make materials used in aerospace and marine more durable and sustainable.”

May PMI up slightly to 49.7

The final reading of the Judo Bank / S&P Global Manufacturing PMI from Australia for May 2024 is 49.7, the fourth consecutive month in contraction. The contraction is marginal, with 50 representing stability, and there has been an increase for three consecutive months since a low point in February. New orders fell only modestly and exports returned to growth, according to a summary from Judo, and employment levels rose for the first time in seven months. Among positive signs, new export orders “notably rose for the first time since late 2022”. Judo Bank economist Matthew De Pasquale said “key activity indicators continued to improve through May, suggesting that the worst of the manufacturing slowdown may be behind us. Besides remaining below the neutral level in May, “it has shown a steady increase for three consecutive months since its cyclical low point in February.”

Moderna Australia launches reconciliation action plan

Biotech firm Moderna, Inc announced the launch of its Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), “marking the company’s commitment towards advancing reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia”, last week. According to statement, the RAP will be “a foundational guide for Moderna Australia in building culturally safe and inclusive workplaces, promoting  respect and understanding, and creating meaningful opportunities for Indigenous Australians.” Michael Azrak, General Manager of Moderna Australia and New Zealand, said “We are proud to join a  network of over 3,000 like-minded organisations who are committed to reconciliation in Australia.”  

Batlow gets packhouse boost

Food producer Batlow Fruit officially opened its new packhouse in Batlow, following more than $2.7m in funding injections from the Bushfire Local Economy Recovery Fund. The grants enabled the facility to implement new grading and sizing technology, replacing technology and machinery that had been in the line for more than 40 years. Batlow says its packing sheds are on of the few in the country to obtain ISO 9002 and HACCP 9000 standards. “Greater automation will ensure the packhouse can continue to process local apples and will provide Batlow Fruit Company with the flexibility needed to provide the highest quality product in response to changes in market demand,” the company said in a statement.

ACEN awarded contracts for New England BESS

ACEN Australia announced on Monday that it was recently awarded the Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC), and Operations and Maintenance (O&M) contracts for its New England 200 megawatt/two-hour Battery Energy Storage System (BESS). Energy Vault has been appointed to lead construction of the BESS located, which is set to commence this year ahead of becoming operational “by 2026.” The battery co-located with ACEN’s inaugural project, New England Solar, which is a significant generator in the National Electricity Market (NEM). Managing Director David Pollington said, “The New England BESS will be built using some of the most advanced grid-forming inverter technology which can provide system stability services that coal, hydro and gas generators currently provide.”

NT sees jackfruit opportunity

The Northern Territory “could soon be the leading Jackfruit supplier of the nation,” according to the territory’s government, with a new trial underway between them and AgriFutures Australia. Over a million dollars is being invested “to incentivise NT Farmers to grow commercially viable jackfruit and jackfruit products.” The local jackfruit industry is worth only $2.6 million, despite there being “the ideal tropical climate” within Australia and proximity to the world’s leading jackfruit consumer, South-East Asia. The global market is estimated at $400 million. This trial allows NT Farmers to submit a sample of their jackfruit “for assessments to determine commercial viability, processing suitability and will explore opportunities for the farmer to expand their crop with advanced research. It will also examine the commercial viability of emerging jackfruit products, allowing growers to diversity their produce when the fresh fruit market becomes overwhelmed.”
Picture: Southern Launch

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