Building a low-carbon future for some of Australia’s most significant heavy industries is one step closer with the official launch of the $200 million Heavy Industry Low-Carbon Transition Cooperative Research Centre (HILT CRC) at the National Wine Centre.

Chief Executive of South Australia’s Department for Energy and Mining, Dr Paul Heithersay officially launched the CRC on Wednesday 28 September at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide.

HILT CRC Chief Executive Officer, Felicity Lloyd says the research and collaboration HILT is spearheading has never been more urgent or significant.

“We talk about the ‘smooth transition’ to carbon neutral economies but there is a significant amount of innovation, collaboration and research that whilst underway needs to happen faster to meet 2030 and 2050 goals,” Lloyd says.

Fresh from the Global Clean Energy Action Forum in Pittsburgh, she says Australian research and industry players are at the heart of a global push to fast-track new heavy industry technologies that will drive down their contribution to CO2 emissions, which currently accounts for about 20 percent of all emissions in Australia alone.

“Along with Austria, Australia, through HILT CRC is co-leading the Net-Zero Industries Innovation Mission and the new Roadmap released just last week sets out a plan for global knowledge sharing and collaboration that will speed up the development and application of new technologies. These technologies include clean hydrogen, carbon capture storage and re-use, bio-based fuels and renewables for use in heavy industries,” Lloyd says.

“Through the HILT CRC we have 48 partners across the research and industry sector all dedicated to developing solutions that will drive emissions down and allow some of Australia’s core industries, such as steel, aluminium, and cement, to grow.

“At the same time the CRC gives us a platform to share knowledge globally and share in global knowledge.”

Officially launching the CRC, Department for Energy and Mining Chief Executive Dr Paul Heithersay says it represents a significant, tangible investment in our low-carbon future and in future-proofing industries that are vital to the Australian economy.

“The tireless local work that went in to building the CRC has paid off and has put South Australia in a leading role in driving the national and global effort to ensure that one of our largest industry sectors, worth about $180 billion annually, is also our most responsive to the challenges of climate change,” Dr Heithersay says.

“Australia is leading the research and demonstration of technologies and practices that will pioneer and grow low-carbon economies internationally.”

Research Director for the CRC, Professor Graham ‘Gus’ Nathan says the strength of the CRC approach is that problem-solving research that can be adopted by industry and applied quickly, lies in the collaborative structure of the CRC because teams of researchers work hand in glove with industry to focus research on the practical challenges that companies face.

“Each segment of the heavy industry sector has its own specific low-carbon production challenges,” Prof Nathan says.

“The HILT CRC has industry partners across all of those sectors and in every area of industry concentration, from Pilbara in Western Australia to Northern Tasmania, the Upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia, and Gladstone in Queensland.

“In scoping the potential of our work, we expect that we can increase industry competitiveness and provide more than 370,000 new direct and indirect jobs in the sector.

“We also aim to build our research capacity in Australia, with more than 55 new higher degree research positions so that we will continue to be able to adapt and respond to the dynamic challenges climate change pose for heavy industries and their sustainability.”

General Manager at GFG Alliance, Wayne Harris says working collaboratively with HILT and connecting industries with researchers, will assist GFG Alliance to achieve its Green Steel ambitions by enabling the supply of hydrogen to de-carbonise heavy industry.

“We are excited to be part of HILT CRC as one of their core partners to bring together research with industry expertise to develop the technologies needed to transition GFG to low-carbon Green Steel, and to secure the long-term future of our operations,” Harris says.

The inaugural HILT CRC annual conference kicked off on Thursday September 29 at Adelaide Oval and continued through Friday.

Core partners in the HILT CRC include The University of Adelaide, Australian National University, Curtin University, ADBRI, Alcoa, Fortescue Metals Group, Liberty, Grange Resources; South32, Roy Hill and CSIRO.

Further partnerships have also been established with partners throughout Australia and universities and government agencies in Germany, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

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