NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) has awarded $200,000 to inspiring and ground-breaking small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that are looking to innovate within the energy resources sector.

Under the inaugural NERA Innovation Voucher program, 10 Australian small to medium sized businesses have each been awarded a $20,000 grant, which will allow them to deliver an innovative solution to a technical challenge that had previously limited their customer's ability to maximise their business operations. 

NERA was established in 2016 as an independent, not-for-profit company for the energy resources sector - specifically oil and gas, uranium and coal - and aims to maximise value to the Australian economy by having a globally competitive energy resources industry that is sustainable, innovative and diverse.

NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said it was vital that Australian SMEs were given the opportunity to showcase their skills to the broader industry.

According to Taylor, it was clear from the impressive cross section of Innovation Voucher applicants that Australian SMEs were world class in innovating for the energy resources sector.

"Technology is rapidly changing Australia's energy resources sector from a pipeline business model based on long-term contracts and small numbers of Tier One contractors, to a portfolio model based on a different approach to the management of risk and multiple partners driving innovation and productivity," Taylor said. 

"The ground-breaking innovations we've seen through our program show that Australia can use innovation to respond to higher energy costs, a lower emissions environment, and a societal move towards renewable energy sources and clean technologies.

"Partnering early in the development phase provides businesses and entrepreneurs with a clear pathway to adoption, as the end-users have been engaged in the development phase."

The recipients of the inaugural Innovation Vouchers have proposed solutions for safer operations, digital solution for personnel mobility, as well as applications for drone technology. 

The full recipient list of the NERA Innovation Vouchers program and their solutions are:

  • Exploration Drill Rigs - Power Drill (Queensland);
  • Imagine Intelligent Materials & Duromer Products - Smart Screens (NSW);
  • Kinetic Group Worldwide - Hydrate Membrane Gel (Queensland);
  • Kinyun Australia - Wearable Sensor for Tracking Personnel in Underground Mines (NSW);
  • Project Match Australia - MyPass (NSW);
  • Soter Analytics - Wearable Sensor for Back & Muscular Skeletal Injuries (NSW);
  • Stochastic Simulation - Pseudo Transient Solution for FlowAssure (Western Australia);
  • Tansa Equipment - Roborigger (Western Australia); and
  • Verterra Ecological Engineering - Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS) for seed dispersal and establishment monitoring on problematic mine rehabilitation areas (Queensland).