In a ceremony on Tuesday at the Pacific 2015 Maritime Exposition, Siemens signed a historic research agreement with DST Group and QUT to advance the use of High Temperature Superconductor (HTS) technologies in Australia.
The partnership will conduct research into HTS and explore its applications to Australia’s maritime defence and industrial power requirements with the intent to transition research findings into technology that can be trialled.
HTS technologies under development today in superconducting motors, generators and magnets can carry high-density currents with virtually no loss and have the potential to reduce the size and weight of conventional motors by more than 30 per cent.
Siemens Australia CEO, Jeff Connolly, said the unique partnership reinforces Siemens’ proud legacy of Australian investment and exemplifies the benefits of defence knowledge transfer and strong bilateral relations between Australia and Germany.
“For the Australian Navy, this partnership opens a pathway to more energy-efficient ships and more effective capacity utilisation. They will also have less environmental impact and will be cheaper to operate,” Connolly said.
With this partnership, Siemens is investing 15 years of HTS knowledge into Australia to develop the next generation of HTS experts. An initial investment value of approximately $2 million in equipment and resources and $0.5 million in research and development (R&D) hours has been committed, which will increase as new research and development projects are initiated under the collaboration.
Connolly said the partnership is aligned to the Federal Government’s vision for the future of the domestic manufacturing sector to be increasingly based on local R&D. He said the application of HTS technologies is not limited to defence industries and could revolutionise other high energy-use sectors such as power and transport.
DST Group has strategic alliances with 12 defence companies and research agencies. They partner with 28 universities across Australia to deliver game-changing capability for the future of the Australian Defence Force and continue to seek opportunities to expand this network.
Chief Defence Scientist Dr. Alex Zelinksy said the partnership will focus on transitioning research to outcomes that can deal with real world problems, starting with its potential applications to defence.
“This agreement is in line with our strategic goal to partner with the best talents in industry and academia to achieve a capability edge for defence,” Zelinsky said.
QUT Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Research and Commercialisation, Prof. Arun Sharma said the university was uniquely equipped to undertake this research and development because of its expertise and facilities, including the Banyo Pilot Plant Precinct, a leading specialist research centre for structural, mechanical and electrical engineering.
“QUT’s purpose-built facility has specialist capabilities for large-scale engineering research, testing and validation,” Sharma said.
“Our partnership with Siemens puts QUT at the international forefront of superconducting motor research, an area of research that has the potential to radically transform many industries including maritime propulsion and transport drive systems.”