Australian oil and gas company Woodside and Monash University have announced the launch of a new Innovation Centre that incorporates cutting-edge technology with exceptional expertise in both engineering research and design, and IT.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Innovation Centre, Minster for resources Energy and Northern Australia, Mr Josh Frydenberg said the Centre will drive significant advances in the energy sector, bringing positive economic benefits to Australia.
Woodside will contribute AUD $10 million over five years toward the Centre, which will establish a globally connected innovation hub that rapidly accelerates advances in materials engineering, additive manufacturing and data science.
The Centre will be equipped with a selective laser melting (SLM) 3D printer – the most precise and dimensionally correct 3D printer available – capable of manufacturing components used in oil and gas plants.
Monash Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AO thanked Woodside for the $10 million contribution, which represents the largest corporate philanthropic gift in the University’s history.
“This partnership will build on the University’s record of innovation in engineering and IT to provide practical solutions for Australian industry,” Professor Gardner said.
“The Woodside Innovation Centre demonstrates Monash University’s commitment to connecting our world-leading research with industry. We are grateful to Woodside for such a generous contribution to establish the Centre that will have a national and global impact.”
Mr Shaun Gregory, Woodside’s Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer said Woodside engineers and Monash researchers will jointly develop and test prototypes in the laboratory, aiming to lead to new applications for the energy and other industries.
“Launching an innovation centre at Monash adds to our existing network of FutureLabs at Curtin University and the University of Western Australia in Perth. Launched last year, our FutureLabs are building an ecosystem of scientific and technological innovation through collaborations with research institutions, start-ups, entrepreneurs and adjacent leading industries,” Mr Gregory said.
“Our vision for our Monash centre is for us to rapidly advance commercial opportunities through materials engineering, additive manufacturing and data science. We are really excited about collaborating with researchers and experts from Monash to identify opportunities to solve real-life challenges we face at Woodside.”
Professor Frieder Seible, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice President (Enterprise) and Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Information Technology said the Innovation Centre highlighted the capability of Monash researchers to collaborate with industry specialists like Woodside.
“Today’s important innovation drivers are New Materials, New Manufacturing Methods, and Data Analytics, exactly the three pillars of the Woodside Innovation Centre. Monash engineering and information technology research and expertise is leading in all three areas, in particular in the additive manufacturing of duplex and super duplex stainless steels. With 3D printed components rapidly coming online, Monash is at the forefront of the next generation of manufacturing capability in Australia,” Professor Seible said.
“In addition, Monash has Australia’s most advanced 3-D visualisation environment for fully immersive analytics of big data sets. Through this partnership, we will train the next generation of exceptional engineers and IT professionals to deal with tomorrow’s challenges and advances.”