Victoria hopes to establish itself as a global research leader in battery and hydrogen technologies, with the state government making a $15 million funding commitment to establish two new research hubs in the state.
Deakin University will host two new research collaborations; the BatTRI-HUB 2.0 project that will focus on researching further improvements to battery technologies and the construction of the Hycel Technology Hub, which will deliver research and training in the production and use of hydrogen technologies.
Across the two projects, a total of $33.5 million will be committed to the research and development of new battery and hydrogen fuel technologies, with Deakin University leading collaboration between researchers and industry groups.
The BatTRI-HUB 2.0 initiative will involve the construction of a new battery research facility that will include a pilot battery production line for the manufacture of advanced battery designs and allow for prototyping of new technologies.
To be established at Deakin University’s Burwood campus, the facility will be used to progress the design of both lithium-ion battery technologies and emerging alternative materials, including sodium batteries.
The project will build in the work of an earlier iteration of the BatTRI-HUB project that has previously focused on the prototyping and commercialisation of new battery storage technologies.
The Hycel Technology Hub will be constructed at Deakin University’s Warrnambool campus and will serve as one of Australia’s first hydrogen hubs proposed by the National Hydrogen Strategy.
The Hycel facility will include a fuel cell assembly plant, as well as equipment to support research, training and educational activities in the use of both hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
The hydrogen research initiative will include collaboration with Warrnambool Bus Lines to develop an optimisation model for hydrogen refuelling logistics that aims to support the transition of public transport buses from fossil fuels to green hydrogen fuels.
Deakin University vice-chancellor, professor Iain Martin, said the new research collaborations would help position Victoria as a leader in the development of new clean energy technologies.
“These projects exemplify Deakin’s industry-led research and innovation and our ability to deliver impact both locally and globally,” Martin said.
“The research and its translation will deliver lasting value to communities and industry and extend our investment in regional Victoria and commitment to sustainability.”
Deakin University’s deputy vice-chancellor for research, professor Julie Owens, added that the projects would strengthen Deakin’s position as a leading research institution in the development of both new battery technologies and hydrogen training.
“Materials scientists at Deakin continue to lead the world in high-performance battery innovation, advancing their knowledge in making safer, more efficient and longer storage capacity batteries,” Owens said.
“And our credentials in the hydrogen research space are well established, thanks to Hycel, one of Australia’s first facilities for safely testing, manufacturing, optimising and training in new hydrogen technologies.”
Hycel Technology Hub project has been supported through a $9 million grant from the Victorian government’s Higher Education State Investment Fund, as well as a $9 million contribution from the federal government.
The BatTRI-HUB 2.0 research project will receive a further $5.2 million from the Victorian Higher Education State Investment Fund, as well as co-contributions from industry partners.
The projects are expected to create around 200 jobs in construction, research and manufacturing, and new facilities are planned to be operational by 2022.
“This just reiterates why Victoria is the nation’s clean energy leader – pushing for innovation, creating jobs, and laying the path for a brighter future,” Victorian minister for energy, environment and climate change, Lily D’Ambrosio said.