Australia’s leading clean technology competition – a program that rewards and cultivates the nation’s best game-changing innovation – has announced the winners for what could be its last year, with no commitment from the government that the competition will continue to get funding in 2016.
The Australian Technologies Competition – now in its fifth year – has been a boon to Australia’s clean technology industry, creating $250 million worth of economic value.
Winning entrants from past years have included lighting and energy efficiency technology from BluGlass Limited, and solar and wind technology from Raygen Resources. These two Australian companies, along with two others, also went on to be named in the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA) 2014 Later Stage Awards Global Top 30.
This year’s top award winner, Sydney company, Calix, was named Australia Technology Company of the year for developing an environmentally safe spray for plants that can replace toxic fungicides and pesticides.
The magnesium-based foliar spray is currently in the process of being registered for use on tropical crops across South-East Asia including bananas, pineapple, cassava and coffee. It is also now undergoing trials on vineyards in France.
Other award recipients included technologies that improve tuna fishing, crematorium operations, smart grids and ocean monitoring.
The energy technology award went to smart grid technology company GreenSync, whose advanced energy analytics platform allows utilities and other large customers to better forecast and predict their energy loads and maximise their efficiency.
The cloud-based system integrates weather and climatic data, production schedules, along with information from networks and markets around the country to predict high load situations, and ways to minimise energy costs for customers.
“The competition this year has been incredible,” said Australian CleanTech managing director, John O’Brien.
“An excellent cross section of Australian technology businesses comes together for this annual program, which is being increasingly recognised as a successful platform for developing and showcasing cutting edge Australian technology companies and growing their global access.
“At a time when the government states that it is backing innovation it is ironic that there is no commitment to continuing to fund the Competition into 2016.
“At this stage, this means the end of what has been an incredibly successful program that, on the government’s figures, has created over $250 million worth of economic value for $750,000 invested over five years.”
Ben Waters, who previously ran GE’s Ecomagination program in Australia and New Zealand and was Chairman of the Judges for this year’s contest, said it was a hard task to pick winners in 2015.
“We expect all the winners and most of the finalists to see significant export growth and to create many high-value Australian jobs.”
This year, the contest included a new category, Innovative Regions Award – the inaugural winner of which was the Greater Adelaide Region.
“We work with Australia’s best emerging technology companies and those that succeed usually emerge from a supportive innovation ecosystem. We want to help grow and celebrate the best regions so Australia can generate even more world leading tech companies,” said O’Brien.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.