On Friday 13 March, Federal Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, the Hon Karen Andrews, announced that a WA-led, national collaboration of 28 industry, government and research partners had been successful in its bid to establish the Future Energy Exports Cooperative Research Centre (FEnEx CRC).
The Federal Government will contribute a total of $40 million in co-funding to the CRC, which builds upon a further $122 million in support from industry, state governments and research organisations.
Minister Andrews said the FEnEx CRC will help Australia maintain its position as a leading global energy exporter.
“The world’s demand for energy is insatiable and Australia is already dominant, with current energy exports worth nearly $90 billion,” she said.
“The FEnEx CRC will further strengthen our export industry by developing technologies to improve the efficiency of existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) processes and the development of new exports like hydrogen.”
“Importantly, the FEnEx CRC will tap into international interest in lowering the cost of energy production, while at the same time reducing the carbon footprint of the LNG industry.”
“This CRC’s research program promises to place Australia’s LNG sector well ahead of the curve by anticipating future changes in our energy mix, improving the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries,” the Minister said.
A foundation project of the FEnEx CRC will be establishing the LNG Futures Facility, which will consist primarily of a small-scale LNG plant capable of producing up to 10-tonne-a-day of LNG. It will be a fully functioning, complete LNG producing plant with the purpose of fulfilling research, training and technology demonstration objectives.
The Kwinana-based facility will have the potential to create up to 1,400 jobs.
The Western Australian Government committed $10 million towards the plant as part of its LNG Jobs Taskforce commitments, while the University of Western Australia (UWA) committed up to $15 million.
Approximately $16 million of the Commonwealth funding announced by Minister Andrews will be allocated to the LNG Futures Facility.
Partners supporting the CRC bid include the WA State Government, global energy giant Chevron, Hydrogen innovator ITM and WA mining innovator Mineral Resources, with research partners UWA, Curtin University, Queensland University of Technology, University of South Australia and Swinburne University.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dawn Freshwater, commended the Australian and WA Governments for funding cutting edge, industry-leading research.
“The LNG Futures Facility and FEnEx CRC will advance the prosperity and welfare of the people of WA, by developing a sustainable energy export industry to meet the needs of the 21st Century,” Professor Freshwater said.