The NSW Government has announced seven innovative NSW companies sharing a $5 million Physical Sciences Fund that will help bring their technologies to life.
Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney and Minister for Trade and Industry Stuart Ayres said the recipients of the 2021 Physical Sciences Fund are now one step closer to being able to commercialise their innovative ideas.
“The recipients are developing devices and systems that span various industries and showcase a broad range of ingenuity,” Mr Ayres said.
“From robots that help clean building facades, to improving the effectiveness of WiFi coverage in mines, all the recipients are tackling practical problems with welcome solutions.”
Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier Gabrielle Upton, who presented the awards at the event held tonight at the Fishburners coworking space in the Sydney Startup Hub said this was another example of the NSW Government helping support the translation of ideas into new industries, jobs, products and services.
“The NSW Accelerating R&D Action Plan highlighted the critical role that research translation funding plays in addressing a market failure where early-stage companies have limited access to investment to capital,” Ms Upton said.
“By supporting our most promising companies who are tackling real-world challenges, the Physical Sciences Fund will give their inventive technologies the best chance of being commercialised.
“These devices and applications will deliver important benefits to the people, the environment and the economy of NSW, while delivering new jobs and growing our high-tech industry.”
Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte, NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer said the Physical Sciences Fund is about more than just financial support.
“This important Fund provides ongoing entrepreneurial know-how and facilitates collaboration that will give each funding recipient the best chance of developing into a strong, successful company,” Mr Durrant-Whyte said.
For more information about the fund, visit: https://www.chiefscientist.nsw.gov.au.
2021 NSW Physical Sciences Fund Recipients
Defy-Hi – The BEAR (Building Envelope Access Robot) – $800,000
Defy-Hi Robotics has developed the BEAR robotic system to do the dangerous, dull and dirty work of cleaning and inspecting high-rise buildings. The robotic system includes a mounting system, a carriage and functional platform, and window cleaning and façade inspection attachments.
Growave – Series Wave One – $533,000
Growave is pioneering the use of highly efficient microwave energy to remove weeds and seedbanks, and control disease. Its sustainable, chemical-free approach is a real alternative to chemical herbicides. It is also more effective, penetrating the target and permanently destroying the cell structure from the inside.
The project will ultimately design and manufacture Growave’s first commercial unit – the Wave One. Using microwave generators that either attach behind a tractor or bolt on to autonomous platforms, Wave One will be field-tested on strawberry pathogen control and on chemical-resistant weeds. Commercial treatments will begin in the 2022 financial year.
Hullbot – The Hullbot One System – $1,058,435
The Hullbot One System performs a diverse range of tasks including daily grooming of hulls, 4D inspections (time series-defined 3D data) and surveys of underwater structures and environmental management. The robot can navigate and localise itself underwater without human input and is deployed and retracted autonomously from an above-surface pod.
Proactive maintenance of boats increases hydrodynamic efficiency, reduces CO2 emissions and reduces maintenance costs, while ending the reliance on toxic and expensive antifouling paints that pollute waterways and require annual reapplication.
The Hullbot One system can undertake daily grooming of yacht hulls using self-deploying robots that gently remove early-stage biofouling with rotating brushes. In this way, the Hullbot One System replaces both diver cleaning and antifouling paint, representing a transformative global technology with no direct competitors.
Hysata – ‘Next-Generation’ Water Electrolyser – $500,000
It is estimated that 15-25 per cent of energy in a Net Zero emissions global economy will come from ‘green hydrogen’ – hydrogen produced by splitting water using renewable energy. However, the water electrolysers currently used to produce hydrogen are relatively inefficient, complex, costly and difficult to scale.
Hysata is developing a new type of electrolyser that is substantially more efficient than existing types of electrolysers. This efficiency improvement, together with the inherently simple and low-cost design of Hysata’s electrolyser will significantly shift the economics of green hydrogen production, bringing $2/kg green hydrogen within reach.
Hysata’s simple design is also well suited to mass-manufacture, making it easy to ramp up production to the massive scales needed to decarbonise the energy sector.
LLEAF – LLEAF Technology – $283,480
To feed a growing population sustainably and securely, global food production must increase by 70 per cent. To address this need, LLEAF is developing new agricultural film that optimises the use of one of our biggest natural resources – sunlight.
LLEAF’s patented technology, developed in collaboration with UNSW Sydney, uses material with different dyes to shift non-optimal wavelengths of sunlight to wavelengths that enhance plant growth. The film can be retrofitted in greenhouses and has been shown to improve crop growth by up to 25 per cent. LLEAF’s other benefits include faster growth and the ability to induce or inhibit fruiting cycles. NSW is the ideal place to develop LLEAF technology with the unique combination of its pool of expertise in material engineering, abundance of sunlight and being the centre of greenhouse cropping in Australia.
LLEAF is currently in the final stages of a field pilot, partnering with the Future Food Systems CRC. Funding will be used to launch LLEAF’s first product – LLEAF-Red – to the market.
Roobuck — Long-Range High-Rate Wi-Fi System – $800,000
Roobuck and the University of Sydney are collaborating to commercialise the world’s first long-range high-rate WiFi system compatible with conventional WiFi devices. Developed by university researchers, the novel long-range WiFi system (LRWiFi) will significantly expand broadband coverage in underground mines, increasing both productivity and safety.
The LRWiFi system developed by the university researchers is low-cost and scalable. Modelling indicates the system could significantly reduce the number of access points and reduce costs by more than 80 per cent.
Products resulting from this Roobuck and University of Sydney collaboration could be transferred to other sectors such as the petrochemical, agriculture, construction, and logistics industries.
Sensortine – MPT AgTech ‘Smart Seeder’ – $703,590
Soil moisture is critical to achieve optimal seed emergence. The MPT AgTech ‘Smart Seeder’ integrates soil moisture sensing technology into a self-adjusting seeder to accurately manage seed placement. Typically, farmers must rely on data collected from static probes to identify a single seed depth for the whole paddock – a limited approach that only provides a ‘best guess’.
The Smart Seeder captures live data using smart sensing tines and analyses this data with an on-board processor that feeds information to an electronically controlled smart row unit that uses an algorithm to vary the depth of seed placement constantly and automatically.
Planting seeds to suit moisture conditions at individual locations maximises crop uniformity, resulting in higher yields and increased productive seasons. The system also increases machine efficiency, reducing fuel use and general wear and tear.