Work on bioplastics for Australian electric vehicles announced

University of Queensland has announced it is working with automotive start-up ACE-EV and Flinders University to develop bio-based materials for electric vehicles.


The co-director at the university’s Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing, Dr Michael Heitzmann, said UQ had particular strength in bioplastics and composites research, and using this to support a local startup made sense. 


ACE-EV assembled its first car in Brisbane before relocating production to Adelaide. Its R&D base remains in Queensland.


“We see great potential in replacing non-renewable traditional composite and polymers with bio-based materials that have a much lower carbon footprint,” said Heitzmann. 


ACE-EV sells carbon fibre-bodied vehicles, which are flat-packed and imported from China and assembled at Aldom Body Builders in Wingfield, Adelaide. It plans to increase the local content of its vehicles over 50 per cent as it scales up.  


Co-founder Greg McGarvie said the transition to electric cars with sustainable plastics would mean, “cleaner, healthier cities and significant savings in household budgets.”


“Working with ACE-EV will hopefully be the beginning of a new chapter in Australian automotive manufacturing,” added UQ’s Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology research fellow Dr Nasim Amiralian.


Amiralian is well known as an innovator in extracting and using nanofibres from native spinifex, which can be added to materials such as rubber and plastic, providing major strength improvements in small doses.


Picture: UQ’s Dr Michael Heitzmann, Mark Butler MP, and UQ’s Dr Nasim Amiralian with the ACE-EV electric van


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