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GRDC and CRDC accept challenge to drive investment into agricultural innovation

GRDC and CRDC have each led a challenge to drive investment into agricultural innovation, in partnership with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources.

GRDC led a challenge on turning farm crops into a renewable hydrogen source while CRDC led a challenge on revolutionising agricultural spray applications to reduce spray drift. Four successful applicants across both challenges recently received $1 million each to develop a proof of concept.

DETAILS:

  • Two new Business Research and Innovation Initiatives have been facilitated by Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) in partnership with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER)
  • The initiatives were developed to drive investment and innovation, with four successful applicants across both challenges receiving $1 million to develop a ‘proof of concept’ to address some of Australian agriculture’s biggest challenges
  • The initiatives were rolled out in two phases. In the first phase companies were invited to develop feasibility studies for consideration. In the second phase, two companies per imitative were funded to develop a ‘proof of concept’
  • DISER started the Business Research and Innovation Initiatives in 2020 and provides $12 million annually in funding to solve five environmental challenges 
  • Over the course of the two challenges GRDC and CRDC have facilitated almost $5 million of investment into Australian agricultural innovation. $987,009 of investment in feasibility studies was awarded across ten companies in January 2021. A further $4 million was awarded across four companies in September 2021 to develop a ‘proof of concept’

 GRDC CHALLENGE

  • GRDC led a challenge on turning farm crops into a renewable hydrogen source to create new markets for by-products and improve sustainability
  • The goal of the challenge is to find ways to generate hydrogen for renewable fertiliser production through recycling farm biomass, potentially generating significant advantages for the nation’s grains industry
  • The challenge invited four companies to develop feasibility studies with the companies initially being awarded $100,000 each. Two companies were subsequently awarded $1 million to develop their proof of concept:
    • Wildfire Energy (QLD) is developing a commercial process of converting crop residues to hydrogen

o    HydGene Renewables (NSW) is engineering bacteria to convert sugars from biowaste into hydrogen

 CRDC CHALLENGE

  • CRDC led a challenge on revolutionising agricultural spray applications to reduce spray drift
  • Pesticide spray drift, or movement beyond the original target, is an ongoing and global issue. The goal of the challenge is to reduce off-target spray drift avoiding costly environmental and production damage
  • The challenge invited six companies to develop feasibility studies which initially awarded three with $100,000, two with over $98,000 and the remaining recipient received $89,140. Two companies were subsequently awarded $1 million to develop their proof of concept:
    • Advanced Agricultural Systems / SwarmFarm Robotics (QLD) is developing a system for robots to autonomously make decisions on pesticide application
    • LX Design House (NSW) is creating an easy to use, globally scalable and real-time spray application feedback system using a range of innovative technologies, including artificial intelligence

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