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Federal Finance Minister Simon Birmingham. Source: AAP.
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  • The Federal Government will invest almost $100 million into some key South Australian research projects for cleaner energy and marine bioproducts
  • The funding will help establish the Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition (HILT) and the Marine Bioproducts (MB) Cooperative Research Centres (CRCs)
  • The focus of these research centres will be cleaner energy, more sustainable products, and lower costs
  • Partner organisations will offer almost $400 million in extra funding — $175.7 million for the HILT CRC and $200 million for the MB CRC
  • The funding comes as part of the government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Grants program, which has offered over $5.2 billion in funding since 1991

The Federal Government is set to invest almost $100 million into some key South Australian research projects for cleaner energy and marine bioproducts.

The funding comes as part of the government’s Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Grants program and will establish two more research centres: the Heavy Industry Low-carbon Transition (HILT) CRC and the Marine Bioproducts (MB) CRC.

The University of Adelaide will lead the HILT CRC, while Flinders University will lead the MB CRC.

Clean energy for heavy industries

The core focus of the HILT CRC will be to help lower costs for heavy industries like steel production and machine tool building while helping these industries transition to cleaner energy.

Minister for Industry, Science, and Technology Christian Porter said the HILT research centre will help build a reputation of high-quality, low carbon exports from Australia’s heavy industries.

“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,” Minister Porter said.

Over 50 partner organisations have come together as part of the HILT CRC, including Rio Tinto Aluminium, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), and Curtin University.

The industry partners are backing the research centre by an extra $175.7 million in funding on top of the $39 million from the Federal Government to support the project.

According to Finance Minister Simon Birmingham, the focus of the CRC will be on green energy solutions like hydrogen, ammonia, and solar for steel, aluminium, and cement manufacturing.

Cosmetics and medicines from the sea

The Federal Government has committed $59 million to establish the Marine Bioproducts CRC, which also has a string of industry partners.

The purpose of the MB research centre will be to support manufacturers of omega-3 oils and other nutraceuticals, cosmetics, and bioplastics derived from seaweed and marine life.

As with the HILT CRC, the MB centre’s main focus is cleaner and more sustainable Australian products.

Minister Birmingham said the potential for growth in the bioproducts sector is “enormous”.

“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 industry partners for the MB centre will provide another $200 million worth of support alongside the government funding.

Today’s news follows the news that the government is also funding the Digital Finance Cooperative Research Centre, which is headquartered in New South Wales and will receive some $60 million.

The CRC Program was kicked off in 1991 and, since then, over $5.2 billion worth of grants has been provided, according to the Federal Government.

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