Fund lures R&D hopefuls

Emerging coal technology developers have collectively fronted more than $8 million in an attempt to secure their share of $3.5 million research and funding grant through Brown Coal Innovation Australia.

Coming as part of BCIA’s third competitive research and development funding round, targeting technologies which reduce carbon emissions and improve generation efficiency, the grant pool attracted 18 international and Australian project applications.

BCIA director Michael Hutchinson said the grants played an important role in maintaining interest in developing brown coal technologies within the scientific community.

“Considering the bashing that brown coal has had through the carbon debate – it’s important we are able to continue bringing experts into that area, and stimulating interest in developing new coal technologies,” Mr Hutchinson said.

“One thing this funding round has shown is there is still a strong interest there, and there are companies willing to take this forward and find more environmentally friendly ways of using coal – which is economically important for the Gippsland community which is sitting on this great resource.”

“There’s a number of technologies out there looking to get up and running but haven’t been able to get their commercial business cases together; R&D seed money can help them prove and de-risk their projects to a point where investors are actually willing to put their money into them.”

Successful round three applicants are expected to be announced in the first half of 2014.