Powering the future: ACT renewable energy initiatives receive funding boost


Six local renewable energy projects will receive a funding boost in the latest round of ACT Government funded innovation grants.

Minister for Water, Energy and Emissions Reduction Shane Rattenbury said Round 3 of the ACT Government’s Renewable Energy Innovation Fund (REIF) Grants will provide the sector with more than $1.2 million to help fund renewable energy innovation.

“The ACT is a leader in climate action, with a strong renewable energy sector. Round 3 of the Renewable Energy Innovation Fund Grants will help 6 local businesses deliver their clean energy vision for the future whilst further strengthening the renewables industry in the ACT,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“This year’s grants will support projects integral to addressing the climate crisis by supporting on-demand hydrogen production, increasing the efficiency of solar panels, and enhancing the ACT’s network of grid-connected batteries.

“The ACT is a renewable energy innovation hub, with world-leading capabilities. This early-stage investment will assist in addressing climate change by growing the renewable energy sector and employing many Canberrans in the process.

“These grants help businesses to develop renewable energy and clean technology solutions that accelerate the uptake of clean energy initiatives.

“The REIF grants have been immensely successful in their first 2 rounds. The approximately $3.1 million of funding awarded since 2017 has helped 14 companies kickstart their renewable vision in the ACT.”

The recipients of this year’s REIF Grants are:

PV Lab Australia - Reduce and Reuse - Keeping PV panels out of waste streams: $214,374

This project aims to prevent solar panels from ending up in landfill. It focuses on two main things: reducing the number of panels that get thrown away and finding ways to reuse them instead. The project will study why panels deteriorate in humid climates and implement solutions to fix this issue. It will also explore options for refurbishing and assessing the usability of used panels.

SPARK3D - Advanced additive manufacturing of next-gen photovoltaics: $254,184

Using 3D printing technology, the project aims to reduce waste and energy consumption in the production of solar panels. Additionally, the project will focus on developing a way to easily take apart and reuse the electronic components, making the manufacturing process more circular. This technology will be made available to scientists, engineers, and innovators in the ACT region, helping them speed up the development and commercialisation of renewable energy technology.

Hydrogen Renewable Energy Australia - On-site and on-demand green hydrogen production: $253,552

This project focuses on producing green hydrogen quickly and conveniently at the location where it is needed. HYREA has developed a technology that enables on-site and on-demand production of hydrogen, reducing issues with transportation and  storage. As part of the project, HYREA will create a prototype boat powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. The boat will also have its own hydrogen production facilities on board. The goal of the project is to demonstrate the advantages of on-site production of green hydrogen to various industries.

Zeppelin Bend - Community Energy Opportunity Toolkit: $250,000

This project aims to create a web-based tool called the Community Energy Opportunity Toolkit. The purpose of this toolkit is to help identify specific locations where the power grid is facing limitations or constraints. By analysing and prioritizing these constraints, the tool will enable the mapping of suitable locations for community batteries aiming to maximize the value and benefits of battery projects. This helps accelerate the transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources by improving the economics of these projects and making them more viable.

FLEX-G - Revolutionizing battery lifespan through enhanced thermal management: $180,000

This project aims to improve the lifespan of large battery energy storage systems through enhanced thermal management. These systems are becoming more important in meeting the growing demands for performance. Increasing the lifespan of these battery systems is crucial because they are expensive to deploy initially and have limited options for recycling at the end of their life. One of the main reasons batteries degrade over time is due to poor thermal control. This project aims to revolutionize the way batteries are managed thermally, leading to longer-lasting and more efficient energy storage systems.

Aqacia - PV 4.0: $82,341

The PV 4.0 project focuses on using machine learning and image recognition technology to improve the quality control of solar panels. Aqacia has developed a prototype that can accurately assess and classify the quality of solar panels using this technology. The project aims to integrate machine learning tools into existing workflows that currently rely on human assessment for quality control. By doing so, Aqacia expects to achieve faster, more cost-effective, and consistent quality assurance for solar panel production. The successful implementation of this project will not only benefit the ACT region but will also serve as a demonstration for exporting this solution globally.

For more information on the REIF Direct Grants program, visit the Everyday Climate Choices website.