Allume Energy are a Melbourne based company with a vision of making rooftop solar accessible and affordable for apartment residents and businesses in multi-tenanted buildings with a shared roof.
They have developed a world first hardware technology called the SOLSHARE, which allows a single solar system to be dynamically and optimally shared by multiple residents or businesses within a building.
This behind-the-meter technology allows for a flexible, scalable and affordable delivery of solar to the multi-metered market, unlocking the opportunity for millions of people to reduce their carbon footprint and electricity bills.
Allume won the prestigious Clean Energy Council Innovation Award 2020 and their customers include the Salvation Army, Ovida and Mirvac. They also have their sights set on the global market through a partnership with Sunrun, the USA’s largest rooftop solar provider.
The Food Revolution Group (ASX: FOD) manufactures and distributes high quality juices and beverages, kombuchas, fibres, cold-pressed oils and waters at its state-of-the-art processing facilities in Mill Park, Victoria.
FOD sells products under its own brands, which include The Juice Lab, Original Black Label, The Bucha Shop, Bush Tucker, Thirsty Brothers and Fruit Farm – through leading retailers including both Coles and Woolworths.
FOD utilises novel and proprietary high efficiency juice extraction equipment for lower energy consumption and higher yields.
Gane Energy is a clean fuel development and licensing company based in Melbourne. Gane has developed an industrial diesel fuel substitute which delivers environmental, economic and social advantages to customers and communities.
Gane fuel has been patented in over 50 territories globally and the team behind this fuel has many years of experience in the manufacturing and supply of mainstream fuels, as well as proven success in the development of innovative new fuels.
Gane Fuel can be used in existing engines with limited changes to the engine and fuel supply system, and it provides a cost-effective and cleaner alternative to diesel in industrial applications.
Semitech is headquartered in Melbourne and provides novel semiconductor componentry to enable digital communication using existing power line infrastructure. Semitech’s family of semiconductor chips enable a range of solutions and bandwidth for smart grid communications.
Southern Green Gas is a next generation renewable energy development company aiming to bring its breakthrough technology to the global energy industry. At its heart is the ability to extract carbon dioxide from the air. The carbon dioxide is combined with green hydrogen, which is produced from solar power and water sustainably extracted from the air.
Southern Green Gas thereby creates solar fuels that are not only carbon neutral but also transportable through existing infrastructure.
Southern Green Gas’s approach is unique in the use of small production modules that are amenable to mass manufacture here in Australia. The potential cost reduction benefits from this approach could allow a least cost transition to a low carbon vibrant economy.
Synergen Met Pty Ltd is an Australian-owned and operated business with a patented technology for a modular sodium cyanide process plant. The Synergen NaCN Plant is designed for safe, just-in-time production of sodium cyanide at a mine site and this delivers a wide range of environmental and economic advantages.
The Synergen NaCN Plant has been invented, developed and tested from the ground up to meet the precise needs of the world’s gold, silver and base metal mineral processing operations.
The same modular, fully transportable, stand-alone equipment design is used in Synergen’s PFAS destruction plant. (PFAS) contamination of soil and water by toxic PFAS (per-and poly-fluorinated alkyl substances) is a significant environmental problem across Australia and around the world. Synergen’s plant will enable the safe, effective destruction of the PFAS toxins on-site.
Capricorn Power has developed a breakthrough heat to power technology, the Barton Heat Engine. Capricorn Power’s core technology efficiently transforms heat into low-cost electricity with no emissions and with no water required.
The company is building its first commercial Barton Heat Engine. It has completed three paid feasibility studies including one with an ASX-listed company, and is progressing its fourth with a large Australian Agribusiness.
Their technology may be a game changer when it comes to renewable energy because it generates up to three times the electricity from the same heat source at up to half the cost.
Street or public lighting is a significant global and highly competitive market. The Active Reactor was an investment in an electronic controller that improves the energy efficiency of high intensity discharge lamps used in high wattage public lighting venues, as well as expanding lamp operational life by a targeted 50%. The Active Reactor was a separate component embedded in the luminaire. The project is in the early commercialisation phase, and continues to service a niche in the rapidly evolving lighting market.
This investment was in a micro wind project aimed at the Australian residential market, literally a backyard energy innovation. Altaus had conceived a vertical axis wind turbine suited to the urban environment. It was designed to harness urban wind regimes and was silent and relatively unobtrusive. The investment was to fund a demonstration project to determine whether such a micro wind device could secure a position in the market as a low cost distributed renewable energy solution. The investment did not progress beyond the demonstration phase.
While VCTF’s investment did not generate a return it was an example of the Fund’s charter to invest in the gap between scientific discovery and commercial success ie to underwrite”fast to failure” initiatives.
This investment by VCTF was in the hygienic food processing sector. The product developed by Aqua Sciences was a non-invasive in-line technology targeted at extending the interval between cleaning and maintenance cycles by approximately 50%. The novel agitation and oscillation involved in the process breaks down scale build-up and retards further clogging of food processing machinery. The application of the technology has major production efficiency and energy efficiency benefits thereby lowering production costs.
The investment in Aqua Sciences was aimed at advancing the business in the early stages of commercialisation as it sought acceptance of a new approach.
This investment focused on a start –up company delivering an integrated water measurement and delivery system. The Aquaspy technology measured soil moisture and through an array of sensors and the optimised use of water injection for agriculture/viticulture and turf management solutions. The company was at the very early commercialisation phase and failed to achieve the desired penetration levels in its target markets required for commercial success.
This investment was at the demonstration stage of the development of a single-step cryogenic process for removing carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide contaminants from raw natural gas and liquefying the methane. The benefits emanating from the investment project were potentially material as it could change the economic status of stranded gas fields. The project failed to meet its critical development objectives.
Energy storage was a key early focus for VCTF. Ecoult is a battery storage technology originally emanating out of CSIRO. The storage device is ideally suited to wind energy and transmission smoothing. Our investment in Ecoult funded small wind farm trials in Australia and enabled the Company to progress to the early stages of commercialisation ahead of its sale to a US battery manufacturing company.
Embertec is an Australian developed technology that cuts out the standby power consumption of household devices through sophisticated monitoring of their consumption. It requires no user intervention to perform such functionality. The technology can be embodied in power boards, power outlet switches, power supplies and can be ultimately integrated into electrical appliances. Apart from its energy efficiency benefits, ten per cent of residential energy consumption is standby power, Embertec also delivers other benefits such as surge protection, reduced fire risk and extended equipment life. The focus of our investment was to assist Embertec’s progression in the early stages of commercialisation.
This investment was based on the commercial opportunities associated a novel surface engineering processes using a mobile high powered laser surface modifying system. The Laser cladding increases the performance of metallic components and reduces wear in such componentry as turbine blades. The company was successful in targeting the power generation industry. This commercialisation success provided VCTF with the opportunity for an early profitable exit.
Vivid Technology Limited (formerly Greenearth Energy) is a diversified Australian-based renewable erergy company with interest in technology-focused solutions in the industrial energy efficiency and CO2-to-fuel conversion markets in Australia and the Asia Pacific.
The company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange with the stock code of VIV.
In October 2016 the sale of Ilum-a-lite to Greenearth Energy Resources, an ASX listed company, was completed. This transaction enabled Ilum-a-lite to be coupled with a larger business that is focused on the industrial energy efficiency lighting sector thereby offering complementary and synergistic capability.
This project was based on development and commercialisation of a mechanical energy harvesting device. The intent was to replace batteries in a number of high volume applications such as Tollway E-Tags where vehicle vibrations could be converted into stored electrical power. The device could be tuned to store and configure the energy storage for a specific application. The project necessitated further research and was seeking to advance the investee company further along the development stage towards demonstration.
An Australian zinc technology company that had developed a unique (patent-pending) process for extracting high purity Zinc Oxide from a range of Zinc-bearing feedstocks including Zinc Ore, galvaniser’s ash, crude Zinc Oxide and electric arc furnace dust. Unlike other processes, the MetsolTM technology did not need to produce Zinc metal; instead it delivered high purity Zinc Oxide in a form ready for resale at significantly higher profit margins than any other process in the market.
The Metsol TM proces was fully proven at pilot scale. After an failed Initial Public Offering, Metsol’s assets and IP were sold and the company liquidated.
The MIGfast investment was to take a novel welding tip from research through manufacturing development to industry acceptance. Ultimately successful in demonstrating superior speed and weld quality the business failed due to its target market (vehicle manufacture) collapsing and its value proposition becoming irrelevant to the targeted high volume users.
VCTF undertook investment in Oceanlinx with a number of partners with the aim of harnessing the vast energy resource available to Australia through ocean energy or wave power. The advantages of wave power is that it enables more accurate forecasting capability because it has lower variation than other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. This allows better integration into the power system. The ultimate focus of our investment in Oceanlinx was a 2.5MW demonstration project in Portland Victoria. Unfortunately, storm damage to the demonstrator before it could attain reasonable continuous running period resulted in the demise of the project. Wave power generation continues to be a difficult implementation challenge for the renewables sector.
VCTF’s investment in Renex led to the establishment of Australia’s first permanently located integrated waste treatment and resource recovery facility. The 70,000 tonnes per annum facility is located in Dandenong, Victoria. The licensed pyrolysis rotary kiln technology treats a wide range of contaminated soils that would otherwise have to be directed to increasingly scarce landfill disposal. The treatment process has the advantage of being able to open up contaminated sites for development that would otherwise remain undeveloped because of toxic soil. The facility is delivering a sustainable, environmentally sound solution to the treatment of such waste. VCTF is proud to have participated in the initial investment round that kick started this key piece of environmental infrastructure.
This early stage investment by VCTF was into a Vanadium Bromide Reduction/Oxidation flow battery venture coming out of the University of NSW. The market identified for this technology was remote area power supplies (RAPS), emerging standby power in the telecommunications industry and UPS backup. VCTF’s involvement in the project did not advance beyond the development phase due to technological implementation issues.