CSIRO helping SMEs seize energy transition opportunity

Woman charges EV with CSIRO branding (SMEs)
Image: CSIRO

Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to help solve the energy challenges of tomorrow are invited to apply for an upcoming tailored program being run by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, aimed at helping businesses build their research and development (R&D) capabilities.

CSIRO’s ‘Innovation to Grow: Energy’ program commences on June 16 and is a free 10-week virtual program that will help 30 businesses working in the energy sector gain the skills they need to take an idea to market by harnessing the power of research and development.

Related article: CSIRO to tackle energy storage and carbon locking

CSIRO SME collaboration lead Dr George Feast said business-led innovation was a key part of Australia’s energy transition, but businesses were often unsure how to get involved with R&D.

“The energy sector in particular will see continued change over the coming years and there are huge opportunities for businesses to part of the country’s energy transition, in areas such as EV (electric vehicle) charging, household solar, energy storage and other low emission technologies,” Dr Feast said.

“For many businesses, getting involved in R&D for the first time can be a daunting prospect—this course helps businesses build key skills, from refining innovation opportunities and understanding how to partner with research organisations, through to developing compelling and competitive funding applications.

“We want small and medium-sized businesses around the country to be part of the action, so we are looking for people who are sitting on ideas but need more guidance to refine and explore them further.”

“As Australia’s national science agency, we play a major role in supporting industry to help solve some of the country’s biggest challenges, such as Australia’s energy transition,” Dr Feast said.

“Businesses can help bridge the gap between research and commercialisation so we can start to see more of these technologies translated to real life applications.

“For those ready to go a step further, we have access to facilitated matched funding through other programs, like the CSIRO Kick-Start program and the Innovation Connections program, to turn some of those ideas into a reality. We have so far supported more than 1,700 businesses to develop new technologies and ideas, including many in the energy sector.”

Beyond H2 is just one of many success stories linked to CSIRO’s SME support programs developing and integrating disruptive energy solutions to drive a cost-competitive, commercially viable green hydrogen supply chain with renewable energy and waste biogas. 

Beyond H2 director Stephen Wee said the outcome of the program could lead to an immediate solution to the long-haul challenges in transportation and storage of hydrogen, by turning the green hydrogen into methane with waste biogas.  

“As a tech start-up, we recognise that energy-efficient and cost-effective processes to integrate renewables with existing energy systems is the most prominent and immediate pathway to accelerate Australia’s mission towards net zero emission and contribute to the country’s energy transition,” Wee said.

Related article: CSIRO releases roadmap for renewables transition

“Thanks to the support of CSIRO’s Kick-Start program, we were able to work with world-class researchers to commercialise innovation in advancing the promise of technology. It also helps us find a commercial pathway to fully unleash the great potential of renewable hydrogen in near future.”

CSIRO’s ‘Innovate to Grow: Energy’ program is open until May 23 and commences June 16. 

To apply, visit https://www.csiro.au/en/work-with-us/funding-programs/programs/innovate-to-grow

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