Australian Cleantech State profile: Victoria

The Cleantech Industry is continuing to grow around Australia with a large number of cleantech companies being established particularly in the states of Victoria (Melbourne) and New South Wales (Sydney).

Victoria has around 80 companies identified by Clean Technology AustralAsia across a range of industries, and is quickly establishing itself as a focal centre for the cleantech investment industry in Australia. The recently re-elected Victorian government has promised to increase renewable energy target to 20% by 2020 and Invest Victoria have been key supporters of the Annual Cleantech Finance & Investment Forums in Melbourne.

Threes a few standout companies in the Victoria company mix which I thought I would highlight some of their latest news, These include Ceramic Fuel Cells, Pacific Hydro, Active Reactor, and TAG technology.

Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd – a solid oxide gas fuel cell technology – research, development & manufacturing organisation.

As with many successful Australian cleantech companies, overseas markets are the key for their financial success and growth, and Ceramic fuel cells is no exception. Over the last number of years its has been steadily expanding its operations into attractive European markets. Below I’ve captured some of the recent comments from the Chairman’s Address at the recent company AGM in late November.

“There are significant opportunities in the Company’s target market of micro CHP units and other distributed power generators. For instance, in Western Europe alone more than 6 million gas hot water units are sold each year; many of these could be replaced by CHP units. Securing even a small share of this market would generate significant revenue for the Company.”

“European governments are helping this market to develop. Earlier this year the UK Government allocated £50 million to help develop microgeneration technologies. The Government also released a report forecasting that microgeneration could provide 30-40% of the UK’s electricity needs by 2050. In Germany, a National Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology Innovation Program was launched in May, with extra funding of €500m over 10 years. “

“The most significant technical development was the announcement in September that the Company had developed the next generation of its fuel cell technology, a ‘thin film’ fuel cell. These new cells are more than twice as powerful as the prior cells (in terms of power density, that is electricity generated per square centimetre of fuel cell), more efficient, and produce less heat for the same amount of power. This development is the result of an ongoing project over the past few years to improve power density by leveraging off the Company’s broad IP and past developments. “

“The Company has also re-designed the components that integrate the fuel cell stack into a CHP unit, to create a “fuel cell module”, which needs 75 percent less air, has 50 percent less heat loss and has a 60 percent smaller burner. “ source

Pacific Hydro – Develops renewable energy projects around the world, Project Developer

Pacific Hydro is one of the most well known cleantech companies in Australia, having created significant share earnings for its early investors prior to being bought wholly by Australian Superannuation Company Industry Funds Management.

Recent news from Pacific Hydro includes the establishment of their north American presence, in the listed Canadian wind development company Western Wind Energy (TSXV: WND). From their website:

“With 159.5MW of Power Purchase Agreements in place and significantly more potential wind farm developments across Canada and the United States in the pipeline, Western Wind Energy is set to become a key joint venture partner for Pacific Hydro.

We have established an office in North America to grow this relationship and explore other joint venture and renewable energy opportunities in wind, hydro and geothermal in the US and Canada.

The deal includes an agreement to pursue joint venture opportunities with Western Wind Energy in several regions across North America.

Based in Mohave County, Arizona, this 15MW development will be the first project in the partnership between Western Wind Energy and Pacific Hydro. The first wind farm ever to be built in Arizona, Steel Park will comprise fifteen Mitsubishi 1MW turbines and is expected to commence construction in mid 2006, with commercial operations beginning in early 2007.” source

Active Reactor – Electronically controlled magnetic ballast for high pressure sodium and metal halide lamps – Research & Development

This is one company to watch. The technology can create savings on street lighting energy use of 20-30%, amongst other product lifetime benefits, and are currently small scale trialling the technology on streetlights it a Melbourne suburb.

“ The Active Reactor Company has developed a controller that regulates the power to the lamp to minimise energy use, extend lamp life and reduce maintenance costs. The lamp controller also maintains the correct light levels for the life of the lamp. Active Reactor will work with the City of Whitehorse to will retrofit 12 X 250 W high pressure sodium lamps and luminaries along 1km of lighting in Canterbury Rd, Blackburn. Monitoring of the power controllers will determine the effectiveness and power saving potential of this new technology.” source

TAG Technology – Thermally active granule additive to control heat flow, Research, Development and Licensing

Another exceptional technology that has very broad applications for heat control in buildings both domestic, commercial and industrial applications such as refrigeration storage.

The technology works by controlling the flow of heat in one direction only on surfaces that are treated with paint containing the additive. To control heat entering the building you paint the outside of the building, and still allow heat to pass from inside the building to its surroundings. If you need to keep heat inside the building, paint the inside of the building.

Nick Bruse is the General Manager of Clean Technology AustralAsia Pty Ltd; the organiser of the AustralAsian Cleantech Forums, and the leading advocate of Cleantech in Australia.

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