$2.2 million for clean energy breakthrough

The Rudd Labor Government will provide $2.2 million to advance a revolutionary technology developed at the University of Wollongong to produce low-cost hydrogen through its Clean Technology Innovation Program.

Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr congratulated the university on its groundbreaking research.

“The University of Wollongong is again at the cutting edge of clean energy technology with this project. The Labor Government’s investment in this research could lead to new sources of energy, new products, and new markets,” Senator Carr said.

Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird joined Member for Throsby, Stephen Jones and the research team led by Professor Gordon Wallace, Director of the University of Wollongong’s Intelligent Polymer Research Institute and lead node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science, to gain a greater understanding of the breakthrough technology.

“This is game changing technology,” Ms Bird said.

“To think that in the not too distant future it might only take a few litres of sea water a day to power your home starts to change the way that we think about energy generation.  

“Federal Labor is looking to new ways to grow jobs and the economy beyond the China mining boom and technologies like this one are part of that economic transformation.”  

Grant recipient Aquahydrex is a spin-off company of the federally funded Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science. The technology developed allows sea water to be split into water and hydrogen to produce a clean and sustainable fuel source.  

The funding from the Clean Technology Innovation Program will be used to scale-up and develop prototypes for development and testing on a larger scale. Private sector investment in the project has also been secured.

Federal Labor’s Clean Technology Programs have helped achieve real change with over 580 grants, supported by over $300 million in government funding approved to date, meaning total new project investment of almost $1 billion in clean technology around Australia.

But this investment is jeopardised by the spectre of an Abbott Government with the Coalition confirming this week confirming that they would rip $400 million out of the Clean Technology Programs and they would claw back $280 million in already committed funding to business to fill their $70 billion Budget black hole.  

Federal Member for Throsby Stephen Jones said, “This technology was developed by a research group funded by a Federal Labor Government, in a facility that was built with an investment by a Federal Labor Government and the technology will be advanced with a further investment by a Federal Labor Government.  

“Partnerships between researchers, government and the private sector, like this one, are one of the ways that we are building the economy of the future.  

“The Rudd Labor Government is getting results for the Illawarra – investing to help transform our economy and help create new industries and jobs.”  

The Rudd Labor Government has invested nearly $135 million in new research and training facilities at the University of Wollongong including a $35 million contribution to the SMART Infrastructure Facility, $43.8 million for the Australian Institute for Innovative Materials Processing and Devices facility, $25.1 million for the Sustainable Buildings Research Centre and $31 million for the Early Start facility.  

This funding builds on other announcements that help to transform the Illawarra’s economy including committing $50 million seed funding to build the Maldon-Dombarton rail link in partnership with the private sector.   Funding for this commitment has been provided for in the Budget.