New Australian research center will develop composite technologies and bio-composites

The Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS) began a five-year international research program and will focus on international development of composites and related technology in Australia.

 

A five-year international research program that kicked off on Aug. 20 at the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS, Victoria, Australia) will focus on international development of composites and related technology in Australia. The program, an extension of existing CRC-ACS activities, will be supported by AUD $14 million/$12.9 million (USD) from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Program, and more than AUD $50 million/$46 million (USD) in cash and in-kind support from 28 participating organizations, nine outside Australia.

The goals of the CRC-ACS Extension Program are broad: By leveraging the Centre’s highly successful collaborative research model, program operatives intend to facilitate the integration of Australian composites manufacturing, materials supply and engineering support into international value chains. They also hope to bring a range of new technologies to market, including low-cost infrastructure repair and sustainable bio-composites.

Among its many practical aims, the Extension will implement major composites initiatives during the coming decade in the oil and gas sector, in which its advocates say Australia is now positioned to take a leading role. Toward that end, Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS), Malaysia’s national oil and gas company, will participate in the CRC-ACS program to extend the focus of Australia’s expertise in composites technology into petrochemical infrastructure expansion and repair. PETRONAS also will sponsor the development of sustainable composite materials solutions. Plant fibers will be investigated as replacements for some conventional reinforcements to provide a tangible means of carbon capture and storage, reduce energy use and improve composites recyclability.

The Extension’s 28 participants will welcome other organizations into the research fold, hoping to attract groups that, after building necessary skills within the program, can help move products out of R&D into industrial implementation. This “value chain” approach, and the resulting opportunities for Australian small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) to join together in new business opportunities, was a major reason for support from the Australian Government.