News
Bernie Goldie
17/12/2012

‘AquaHydrex’ company a commercial first for Innovation Campus

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) has secured venture capital investment from True North Venture Partners in a spin out company named ‘AquaHydrex’.

AquaHydrex technologies are the culmination of years of research that has taken place within the University of Wollongong (UOW) and Monash University nodes of ACES as well other Australian Research Council (ARC) supported projects at Monash University.

According to ACES Energy Program Leader Professor Doug MacFarlane, the research teams have developed new electrochemical systems for splitting water, with and without the use of sunlight.

“Broadly, the technologies involve novel catalytic processes that enhance the efficient electrolysis of water to produce hydrogen,” Professor MacFarlane said.

 “A second set of technologies are inspired by photosynthesis to assist the production of oxygen gas from water under sunlight,” he said.

ACES Director Professor Gordon Wallace said the investment fulfilled the Centre’s strategy by meeting the needs of society.

“This new investment adds in a material and very substantial way to the investment that the ARC has made in ACES.  It holds the future promise of a major technological and social impact, with accompanying benefits to Australia,” Professor Wallace said.

“We aim to build the skills and infrastructure required to translate our research into commercially viable opportunities,” he said.

UniQuest, one of Australia’s leading technology transfer companies, partnered with UOW and Monash University to develop the business plan and raise capital for AquaHydrex.

According to UniQuest Managing Director David Henderson, the investment highlights the strength of Australian university inventions.

“AquaHydrex is a great example of a university technology that has been developed to an investable opportunity.  It is really a credit to the expertise and determination of the research teams at UOW and Monash,” Mr Henderson said.

True North Venture Partners leads a $300 million venture capital fund that seeks to identify disruptive innovations and work with management teams to build companies for the long-term in the areas of energy, water, waste, and agriculture. 

“AquaHydrex is an example of the interesting and globally relevant innovation in Australia and we look forward to partnering with the AquaHydrex team,” according to Steve Kloos, Partner at True North Venture Partners.

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  • AquaHydrex participants (from left to right): Professor Douglas MacFarlane (Monash University), Professor Gerhard Swiegers (IPRI Senior Researcher), Professor Gordon Wallace (IPRI Director), Dr Paul Barret (UniQuest, Commercialisation Manager for Physical Sciences)