Twenty-three small and medium businesses will share in more than $2 million under the Government’s Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) to test their great ideas on how to improve the natural environment.
BRII is supporting the early-stage development of solutions to tackle five specific government policy and service delivery challenges, including revolutionising agricultural spray application, turning office trash into energy treasure, counting fish using advanced technologies; turning farm crops into a renewable hydrogen source; and automating the detection of whales at sea.
Six projects have been funded under the Revolutionising Agricultural Spray Application challenge with total grants of $587,297. One of the firms involved is Spray Safe & Save, a New South Wales company with a project which will assess the impact of water quality issues on chemical spray drift.
Five projects have been funded under the Turning Office Trash Into Energy Treasure challenge with total grants of $493,285. One of the firms involved is Finn Biogas, a Queensland company which will test an economically viable way to break down organic waste from buildings.
The third challenge – Counting Fish Using Advanced Technologies – saw four project secure grants totalling $399,595. One of the firms involved is Tekno, a Western Australian company which will test a fish-counting system using an artificial intelligence tool that processes raw footage to identify species.
Four projects have been funded under the Turning Farm Crops Into a Renewable Hydrogen Source challenge with total grants of $399,712. One of the firms involved is Wildfire Energy, a Queensland renewable energy start-up which will test the feasibility of using grain crop residues to manufacture hydrogen and biochar.
The fifth and final challenge – Automating the Detection of Whales at Sea – saw four project secure grants totalling $394,654. Among the successful grant recipients is Vimana Tech, a Victorian company which will test a real time AI system incorporating visual and thermal cameras to alert vessel operators when whales are sighted at sea.
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews noted that the most successful projects may be eligible for a grant of up to $1 million to develop a prototype or proof of concept.
“This initiative is giving Australian businesses with clever ideas the opportunity to develop them further, with the potential of creating products that will benefit the community and the Australian economy,” Minister Andrews continued.
“This is another good example of the Government working with businesses to develop solutions to important challenges.
“Government agencies will have the option to purchase any of the developed products, which have been specifically tailored to meet national challenges.
“We had a record 220 applications for this BRII round, showing how competitive the process is – and competition produces results.”
The full list of grant recipients can be found at www.business.gov.au/BRII.