Building a cleaner and greener future for South Australia’s heavy industries

Joint media release with the Minister for Finance, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham

The Morrison Government is investing almost $100 million in two new South Australian headquartered cooperative research projects that will turbocharge the growing marine bio-products sector and help heavy industries like steel transition to a cleaner and more competitive future.

The funding – provided through the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Grants program – includes $39 million to establish the Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC), which will be led by the University of Adelaide. A further $59 million will help to establish the Marine Bioproducts Cooperative Research Centre (MB-CRC), led by Flinders University.

The HILT CRC is backed by an additional $175.7 million in funding and in-kind support from research and industry partners and will focus on integrating green energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia and solar into the high-heat and high-emissions manufacturing processes for products like steel, aluminium, and cement.

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said the CRC would help to secure the future of heavy industries right across the country by helping them to lower costs and establish a reputation as exporters of high-quality, low-carbon, value-added products.

“In order to remain internationally competitive, it is crucial that our heavy industries begin the transition to lower cost and cleaner energy technology to secure the long-term future of their operations,” Minister Porter said.

“By connecting those industries with our best and brightest minds from within our major research institutions – coupled with the significant funding that’s now available to fast-track this work – we expect real-world solutions can be delivered within the 10 year life of the CRC.”

Almost 50 partner organisations are involved in the HILT CRC, including Alcoa, Boral, OneSteel Manufacturing, Rio Tinto Aluminium, South32, the Australian National University and the CSIRO.

Additional partner support for the Marine Bioproducts CRC is worth more than $200 million. The sector includes manufacturers of omega-3 oils and other nutraceuticals, cosmetics, agrochemicals and even bioplastics derived from seaweeds, algae and other marine life.

Federal Finance Minister and Senator for South Australia, Simon Birmingham, said the potential for growth in the bioproducts sector was enormous, especially as demand for cleaner and more sustainable products such as bioplastics continued to increase both domestically and internationally.

“Whether it’s plastics, steel or aluminium, the world is demanding cleaner and greener products, which is why we will continue to back technology-driven solutions that will transition Australia into a lower carbon economy,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Investing in cleaner technology will play a critical part in helping Australia to meet and beat our emissions reductions targets, without damaging our existing industries, and while also helping to build new industries for our future.”

The Federal Government is also funding the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre, headquartered in NSW, which will receive $60 million in federal funding.

The CRC brings together a collaboration of fintech, industry, research, and regulatory stakeholders to increase competitiveness in digital finance through increased efficiency in the financial sector. The industry contribution to this CRC is more than $121 million.

Since the CRC Program commenced in 1991, more than $5.2 billion has been provided in CRC Grants and CRC Project grants. Collaborating partners from industry, research, government and community organisations have more than matched this funding with commitments of over $16.2 billion of cash and in-kind contributions.

Annual CRC grant selection rounds are undertaken over two assessment stages with applications reviewed by the CRC Advisory Committee of Industry Innovation and Science Australia. The opportunity to apply under the next CRC Grant round (Round 23) is also opening today.

More details on the Round 22 outcomes and the grant guidelines for Round 23 can be found here: business.gov.au/crc

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