• Zetifi unit testing.
    Zetifi unit testing.
  • Sea Forest seaweed.
    Sea Forest seaweed.
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The Australian Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) has awarded 10 companies $6 million in grants through the federal government’s Commercialisation Fund. The two food and beverage recipients received $1 million. 

In March, the federal government launched the $30 million fund to develop new manufacturing products and processes. The grants are between $100,000 and $1 million and must be matched by industry. So far, 31 manufacturers have matched federal co-investment 2:1, with $49.8 million allocated from the fund.

AMGC administered the project in collaboration with the five other Industry Growth Centres: AustCyber; Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL); MTPConnect; METS Ignited and National Energy Resources Australia (NERA); and CSIRO. 

The 10 companies are the successful recipients of rounds four and five. The total investment was $16.2 million, with industry contributing 60 per cent ($10.1 million) and the remaining $6.1 million from the fund. 

AMGC managing director James Goennemann said they received a large volume of in-depth manufacturing proposals. 

“These projects represent the capability of Australian manufacturers to make complex things – from feed products that reduce methane emissions in livestock, to portable dialysis machines for emerging economies. Australian manufacturers are exceedingly innovative and competitive when given the right support. 

“The latest round of investment via the Commercialisation Fund brings the total number of projects supported to 31. Each of these projects will generate significant opportunities, injecting close to $50 million into local operations to commercialise, scale and take Australian products global,” said Goennemann. 

From the chosen ten recipients, two food and beverage and one recycling projects were recognised: Sea Forest, Zetifi, and Samsara. 

The power of Asparagopsis 

Sea Forest seaweed.
Sea Forest seaweed.

With a total project commitment of $3.24 million, Tasmanian based Sea Forest is aiming to become a market leader and global supplier of the oil-based seaweed high bromoform asparagopsis. It received $675,000 from the fund. 

The company will implement small amounts into the diet of cows to achieve nearly complete elimination of methane emissions. 

Sea Forest is developing efficient production facilities and has commissioned research teams at the University of Tasmania and James Cook University to research into optimal Asapragopsis cultivation methods.

The company is also nearing the end of its 300-day carbon neutral wool trial, hoping to pioneer a near zero greenhouse gas emission method to combat climate change. 

A wireless rural future 

NSW based Zetifi (pron: Zeh Tie Fye) incorporates digital technology to connect people living in rural, remote and regional areas. The company received $396,000 to develop on its existing technology which will aid Australian manufacturers in remote areas to modernise their business. 

In September, Zetifi solved connectivity issues for a family-owned stock breeder based in Holbrook, New South Wales. The company’s wireless network solutions allowed for the agribusiness to access information without having to leave its paddocks and totalled a 200 per cent improvement in internet speeds. 

Enzyme tech 

With packaging being an integral component of the food and beverage manufacturing cycle, plastic recycling start-up Samsara received $500,000 from the Commercialisation Fund to bring the potential of infinite recycling to life

In collaboration with Woolworths, Australia National University and Main Sequence Ventures, Samsara will use technology that breaks down plastic with enzymes. The start-up has commenced a trial with the supermarket giant where it will convert 5000 tonnes of plastic into Woolworths’ own brand packaging to avoid new plastic being made. 

Packaging News

Australian eco-startup Zero Co, innovator of a closed loop packaging model for cleaning products, has smashed the country’s record for the largest crowdfunding campaign in history, raising $5 million in just six hours and 27 minutes.

In line with its ambitious sustainability targets, food manufacturer Goodman Fielder has changed the packaging for Praise Mayo and Aioli, with bottles and jars made by Pact Group using 100% recycled PET.

APCO, in partnership with Dairy Australia and the ADPF, has published a sustainable packaging roadmap for the dairy industry in a bid to fuel the sector’s 2025 National Packaging Targets.