School of Chemical Engineering

Research into sustainable diesel production and the development of ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries has attracted $3.85 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Projects (CRC-P).

The University of Queensland is a participant in two of the 13 collaborative research projects announced under the scheme, which involve industry leaders, universities and other partners.

UQ Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Peter Høj said it was an outstanding result that further acknowledged the University’s researchers and their drive to partner with industry.

“Over the three rounds of the CRC-P scheme, UQ has been a participant on more CRC-Ps than any other university,” Professor Høj said.

“This strong showing follows UQ’s outstanding results in the ARC Linkage grants earlier this month and further affirms our researchers are creating positive change for business and industry to the benefit of the state and the nation.”

UQ Dow Centre for Sustainable Engineering and Innovation Director Professor Chris Greig and researchers from the University of New South Wales are involved in a successful CRC-P led by Printed Energy Pty Ltd, awarded $2 million, to develop battery energy storage technology.

Printed Energy’s batteries are a thin, flexible format – printed in a roll-to-roll process like a newspaper – that can be adapted to almost any shape with potential to power everything from disposable medical devices, smart cards and wearable electronics to large-scale solar panels and energy storage.

“This technology represents not just an opportunity for us to be involved in cutting-edge science and innovation, but presents a real opportunity for the next generation of Australian manufacturing,” Professor Greig said.

“Our mission is to foster and facilitate advances in science and engineering which are technologically, economically and socially sustainable. This project fits the bill perfectly and the range of applications is probably only limited by our imaginations.”

Printed Energy is backed by energy innovator and philanthropist Trevor St Baker, founder of ERM Power and creator of the St Baker Energy Innovation Fund.

The School of Chemical Engineering’s Dr Bronwyn Laycock and Associate Professor Steven Pratt are collaborating on a project led by Eco Fuel Innovations, which secured $1.85 million in CRC-P funding for its program to develop a novel catalytic process for sustainable diesel production from solid waste.

“Generating platform chemicals and fuels from waste makes sense from an environmental point of view,” Dr Pratt said.

“This project is about assessing and reducing the associated material and energy costs.”

Eco Fuel Innovations CEO Philip Major said the CRC-P grant would allow the development of a technology to convert a wide variety of waste destined for landfill into valuable commodities such as diesel or electricity.

“Even with increased recycling, we are expected to create more waste as the population increases. At the same time, there is a need for more energy; especially that which can be stored easily,” Mr Major said.

“Our aim is to investigate methods that can convert waste to energy in a manner that produces no harmful emission and requires minimal energy input, while maximising useful resources.”

Media: UQ Communications, communications@uq.ed.au, 3365 3439; Philip Major, pmajor@ecofuelinnovations.com, 3303 0315.