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Grants focus on improving natural environment

Queensland based Finn Biogas, has received funding to test an economically viable way to break down organic waste from buildings. Twenty-three small and medium businesses are sharing in more than $2 million from the federal Government to test their great ideas on how to improve the natural environment.

Five projects have already been funded under this challenge with total grants of $493,285.

This latest round of the Business Research and Innovation Initiative (BRII) is supporting the early-stage development of solutions to tackle five specific government policy and service delivery challenges. Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews explained that following the feasibility tests, 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,” Andrews said.

“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.”

Along with Finn Biogas, the challenges in this BRII round are:

  • Revolutionising agricultural spray application:

Six projects have been funded under this 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.

  •  Counting fish using advanced technologies:

Four projects have been funded under this challenge with total grants of $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.

  • Turning farm crops into a renewable hydrogen source:

Four projects have been funded under this 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.

  • Automating the detection of whales at sea:

Four projects have been funded under this challenge with total grants of $394,654. One of the firms involved 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.