The fundamental responsibility for providing funding support for pure research and development rests with the Commonwealth Government. However, State Government can play a useful role particularly at the interface between research and initial commercial application. This is particularly when there are direct prospects for commercial investment or benefits of wider uptake from the demonstration of technologies.
The Government has already been active in this space:
- Providing $1.6 million to establish the South Australian Geothermal Energy Research Centre
- Trialling of mini-wind turbines
- Supporting a solar precinct on North Terrace
The South Australian Government also recently announced the commissioning research for solar thermal air-conditioning for the residential sector.
Microalgal fuel research
The Algal Fuels Consortium (AFC) comprises the South Australian Research & Development Institute (SARDI), Flinders University, the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship and Flinders Partners. The consortium was a successful applicant of $2.7 million to the Commonwealth Governments 2nd Generation Biofuels Program. AFC is developing a pilot-scale second generation biorefinery for sustainable production of microalgal biofuels and value added products. Flinders Partners is the commercialisation agent for the AFC.
The National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) Photobioreactor Facility based at the South Australian Research and Development Institute’s Aquatic Sciences laboratories at West Beach Adelaide, provides capability for R&D clients to research microalgae for biofuel production.
Wind Technology Testing
The Univeristy of Adelaide’s School of Mechanical Engineering was awarded $800,000 from the Premier’s Science and Research Fund to build a large-scale wind tunnel that will support South Australia’s wind turbine (power-generating) and wind engineering sectors. The wind tunnel – to be used for technology development and commercial testing and located at the Adelaide University Research Park (Thebarton Campus) – will have some unique capabilities within the Southern Hemisphere.
Adelaide University Research Park - Thebarton Campus
The technology and research park located at Thebarton hosts a number of its applied research activities including mechanical engineering, physical sciences, electronic engineering, chemical engineering . Commercial enterprises include businesses involved in materials engineering, biotechnology, environmental services, information technology, laser/optics technology, engineering services, radar systems and telecommunications.