Deakin University spearheading Australia’s largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem

May 13, 2022

GMC Major Sponsor, Deakin University has been announced as a recipient of the Trailblazer Universities Program. Deakin will receive $50 million to accelerate ideas into innovative, sustainable manufacturing solutions in the hydrogen and recycling industries, and drive commercialisation outcomes with industry partners, creating 1,100 jobs over the next five years.

Deakin will work with 21 industry partners, including 16 small businesses, and 7 higher education providers, building Australia’s largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem.

Through the Recycling and Renewable Energy Commercialisation Hub (REACH), Deakin will work with governments, industry, and education partners to establish a multi-billion dollar bioeconomy in Victoria, focused on clean energy, recycling and greener supply chains.

The initiative will drive significant innovation and job creation in Geelong, Western Victoria and beyond. The research-industry partnership is expected to create more than 60 new products and 100 patents, while generating more than $1.4 billion in revenue and 2,500 jobs in the next decade.

Alfred Deakin Professor Julie Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, said Deakin was thrilled to be named the latest successful candidate in the Trailblazer Universities Program.

“Funding support of REACH will keep Deakin and Victoria at the forefront of the global green manufacturing revolution, and we acknowledge the generous support of our project partners and the Federal Government,” Professor Owens said.

“Recycling and renewable energy are key to reducing landfills, reliance on fossil fuels, and the devastating costs of global warming. Materials and energy are essential to manufacturing. As global markets move from a throughput economy to a circular economy, demand for greener, more resilient supply chains will continue to grow.”

Professor Owens said REACH would capitalise on Deakin’s strengths in battery technology, carbon fibre, recycling and hydrogen, and those of Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, as well as industry, university and TAFE partners, accelerating ideas into smart, sustainable manufacturing solutions.

“REACH will help build Australia’s sovereign capability in key manufacturing priorities, driving the country’s single largest recycling and clean energy advanced manufacturing ecosystem. By strengthening research, development and production opportunities onshore, we can ensure that our manufacturers are more internationally competitive.

“REACH will help create a model for rapid and successful translation of research to commercialisation, increasing Australia’s competitiveness across a broader spectrum of technology advances.”

GMC CEO Jennifer Conley welcomed the announcement.

“Deakin University’s successful Trailblazer bid is a major gamechanger for manufacturing in Geelong and the region,” she said.

“Winning this competitive bid to access $50 million of Federal funding – which will leverage a further $380 million from industry and university partners – is the kind of investment needed to make Geelong and Victoria the clean tech and new energy centre of excellence we know it can be.”

Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Iain Martin said the successful Trailblazer bid was an important recognition of the university as a national leader in research commercialisation and collaboration.

“This funding will enable Deakin to work with progressive, innovation-driven industry partners, leveraging enormous market opportunities for recycling and clean energy technologies to deliver carbon-neutral solutions. As a result, REACH will lead a sustainable manufacturing revolution, pushing the limits of technological innovation and driving solutions for a cleaner, greener future.”

Initial REACH supported research-industry partnership projects include:

  • establishing an Australian supply chain for the manufacture of advanced technology batteries with greater energy density and shorter charge times;
  • building local capability to store and use hydrogen across a broad technology base; and
  • converting organic and inorganic waste into higher-value products, including a major project to recycle soft plastic in a closed-loop system.

Deakin University is the fourth successful Trailblazer to be announced by the Federal Government.