Biomaterials herald new chapter in Australian auto manufacturing

Friday, 01 November, 2019

Biomaterials herald new chapter in Australian auto manufacturing

University of Queensland researchers are developing a new generation of sustainable composite materials designed specifically for electric vehicles.

Queensland-founded start-up Australian Clean Energy Electric Vehicle Group (ACE-EV) launched its electric van in Australia in August and is now working to ensure the vehicle is designed and built onshore, using Australian research expertise.

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology research fellow Dr Nasim Amiralian said UQ’s researchers are passionate about creating manufacturing opportunities for Australia in the bioeconomy.

“Working with ACE-EV will hopefully be the beginning of a new chapter in Australian automotive manufacturing,” he said.

The Co-Director of the UQ Centre for Advanced Materials Processing and Manufacturing, Dr Michael Heitzmann, said UQ has exceptional expertise in developing bioplastics and composites.

“It’s a logical next step for our UQ team to support a local start-up in implementing these new materials,” he said. “We see great potential in replacing non-renewable traditional composite and polymers with bio-based materials that have a much lower carbon footprint.”

ACE-EV Managing Director Greg McGarvie said UQ’s world-class bioengineering and nanotechnology research prompted ACE-EV to keep its research base in Queensland.

“Working together, we can all be part of a solution to the impending climate emergency, softening the impact by creating new jobs, new careers and new businesses that profit from reducing carbon footprints,” said McGarvie. “A transition to electric vehicles that use bio-based materials like ‘green’ plastics will mean cleaner, healthier cities and significant savings in household budgets.”

McGarvie, originally from Maryborough in Queensland, said the company hopes to assemble ACE-EV vehicles in regional Queensland. Flinders University researchers will collaborate with UQ and ACE-EV on the research.

Top image from left: UQ’s Dr Michael Heitzmann, Mark Butler MP and UQ’s Dr Nasim Amiralian with the ACE-EV electric van.

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