New South Wales, Resources, Sustainability

UNSW leading a clean energy innovation program

The Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) scheme boasts $117 million in industry co-funded R&D projects in its first year.

The program includes a project led by UNSW researchers demonstrating methods available to create energy from waste streams in environments where water is scarce to potential industry partners.

There are more than a dozen innovations being developed under the TRaCE program designed to accelerate the commercialisation of research and deliver skills for a circular, clean energy economy.

Led by UNSW Sydney in partnership with the University of Newcastle (UoN), the two universities have been working closely with industry partners since being awarded $50 million in funding under the Australian Government’s Trailblazer program in 2022.

A showcase of the TRaCE projects held in Sydney on 5 March revealed a range of disruptive new technologies which are in the process of being brought to market.

Of the projects two highlights were hydrogen produced from seawater and green ceramics created out of textile waste.

The program will contribute to the creation of 5200 regional jobs and boost the economy by up to $15 billion over the next 20 years.

Assistant minister for education, Anthony Chisholm said, “TRaCE’s projects will help Australia and the world find new and effective ways to transition to sustainable recycling and clean energy solutions and systems.”

Working with UNSW scientia professor Veena Sahajwalla, a TRaCE supported R&D project with Kandui Technologies is creating safe and sustainable bio-composites from waste textiles and mattresses, green ceramics, that can be used as alternatives to cut stone in kitchen benches and construction products.

UNSW deputy vice chancellor professor Nicholas Fisk said, “It is clear that the work coming out of TRaCE will be a significant contributor to achieving net zero by 2050. At UNSW as at UoN, we are at the forefront of supporting researchers in collaborating closely with industry to create and bring to market innovative technologies of long-run societal benefit, both quickly and efficiently.”

Vecor Technologies is exploring advanced materials research and systems for hydrogen generation as part of the TRaCE program.

This includes research into improved processes for producing hydrogen from seawater, as a valuable resource for commercially viable renewable hydrogen generation.

In addition to the existing co-investments in R&D Projects, TRaCE will deploy an additiona l$67 million in transformative programs including R&D support, startups and SMEs funding, and education and skills training programs focused on supporting the development of critical skills and jobs required in the emerging energy economy.

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