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The Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has officially launched Carbon Nexus - Deakin’s $34 million carbon fibre research facility.
“The Victorian Government sees Carbon Nexus as an absolutely vital part of the future of our economy,” Premier Napthine said.
A host of dignitaries and industry leaders were amongst almost 300 local, national and international guests at the gathering at Waurn Ponds. The event showcased the high tech facilities at Carbon Nexus that will offer unparalleled research and development opportunities to the world’s burgeoning carbon fibre industry.
Together on Carbon Nexus - Geelong Mayor Cr Darryn Lyons; Mr Brad Dunstan, CEO, VCAMM; Carbon Nexus Chair, Dr Simon Crean; Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander; Victorian Premier, Dr Denis Napthine; Federal Member for Corangamite, Ms Sarah Henderson MP; and Senator for Victoria, Ms Bridget McKenzie.
Premier Napthine praised the fact that “both state and federal governments - and all sides of politics – share in the vision of Carbon Nexus.”
“The future, in many ways, will be about partnership, with us all working together to make sure we can deliver and support the research and development that will drive our future in Geelong and Victoria,” the Premier said.
“Carbon fibre is the material of the 21st Century and I believe it will be even more so than aluminium was in the 20th Century. With its high strength to weight ratio, it has the potential to be used in vehicle, transport, construction and sporting industries. In fact, there are limitless opportunities for carbon fibre.”
The Premier said that Lux Research has estimated that carbon fibre will experience 13-17 per cent growth every year for at least the next decade, and the industry should be worth around $36 billion by the mid-2020s.
“We have an opportunity in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, to be part of the drivers of this growth, with the opportunities that will flow from that. This $34 million investment will be one of the best investments any country could make because we are getting in early, with the best carbon fibre researchers, here, in the world today.”
He added that Carbon Revolution, the high-tech carbon fibre wheel manufacturer, which is located adjacent to Carbon Nexus and exports carbon fibre wheels around the world, is the “tip of the iceberg” for Geelong.
“We have, here today, people from major companies around the world because they see the opportunities to partner with Deakin and the researchers here.”
Also speaking at the launch, the Chair of the Carbon Nexus Board, Mr Simon Crean, reiterated the importance of partnerships for governments, universities and the private sector, as providing “a foundation to be built upon.”
“Universities are fundamental to the research efforts of this country,” Mr Crean said. “Carbon Nexus is an example of an economy in transition. It is time to take a step forward from the past and diversify, build and adapt.
"Carbon Nexus takes the strengths of Geelong - textiles and textiles manufacturing, and manufacturing - and fuses them together in a creative and adaptive way.”
Deakin’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said Carbon Nexus is a globally unique, open-access research facility that will become an international centre of research and development, underpinned by strong local connections.
“The facility contains Australia’s first carbon fibre manufacturing lines and the first in the southern hemisphere,” Professor den Hollander said.
“I thank the Australian governments for their commitment to a brilliant idea. Carbon Nexus has risen like a phoenix to stimulate new ideas and industry. It is a great day for us.”
At the launch, many of the guests participated in an industry seminar program and tours of Carbon Nexus, where they were able to see, first-hand, Carbon Nexus’ state-of-the-art research laboratories, pilot scale and research carbonisation lines, and meet its world class researchers.