Australia being the largest global exporter of iron ore, ARENA has allocated a funding envelope of $25 million, and is seeking proposals to accelerate novel and innovative low emissions iron and steel technologies, and to create solutions for Australian iron ore and to decarbonise domestic steel production.
Deadlines and Timings
Submission of expressions of interest (EOIs) are open and will close on 1 June 2023 at 5:00PM AEST. Accepted EOIs will be invited to submit a full application by July 2023.
Overview and Grant Amount
ARENA views the R&D funding round as a valuable mechanism to progress the commercialisation of low cost, clean hydrogen in Australia. The objectives of the Iron and Steel R&D Funding Round are to:
- address challenges associated with using lower grade Australian iron ores in low emissions iron and steel production and/or;
- support innovative and/or step change emissions abatement pathways for iron and steel production using Australian iron ores; and
- encourage additional research capacity in the Australian iron and steel sector; and facilitate collaboration between research groups and industry
The amount of ARENA grant funding requested should be a minimum of $500,000 and no greater than $5 million.
Eligibility and Criteria
Applicants under Round 1 are required to meet all eligibility criteria as outlined in the Transformative Research Accelerating Commercialisation (TRAC) Program, as well as the following additional criteria:
The applicant must be able to demonstrate that the project described in the proposal:
- involves technologies specific to low emissions iron and steel production
- meets the definition of R&D activities
- involve a technology with a minimum of TRL 2 at the time of applying
Scope of Activity
The scope of activity eligible for the iron and steel R&D funding round is as follows.
ARENA may seek to support areas including, but not limited to, novel production; significant design optimisation and/or alternative direct pathways for high efficiency, low-cost, renewable hydrogen or hydrogen vectors. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
- Low-grade iron ore processing: Including the technical and commercial feasibility of advanced beneficiation, pelletisation and agglomeration to produce low emissions, higher value iron products; and/or
- Iron making processes: Including the optimisation of semi-commercial iron ore reduction technology pathways for Australian iron ores as well as innovative low carbon iron ore reduction processes and optimisation of impurities removal; and/or
- Steel making processes: Including significant reduction and/or efficiency improvements of low emissions steel making processes.
Proposals will be assessed based on total emissions abatement potential and emissions intensity, continued relevance, and contribution to net zero iron and steel making pathways, as well as potential commercial feasibility.
ARENA acknowledges the importance of the cost of hydrogen on low emissions steel production costs. Hydrogen production is not in scope of this round but is covered under the Hydrogen R&D Funding Round. The use of hydrogen in iron and steel production is however captured within the scope of this round.
Proposals must additionally comply with the following parameters:
- projects align with the scope of activity
- development of technology that is assessed as having achieved a minimum Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 2 at the time of applying; projects should aim to progress the relevant technology beyond its starting TRL
- Proposals should budget no more than 50% of total funding sought towards research commercialisation activities, up to a limit of $2.5 million
- the project timeframe is up to 5 years, which is split between core research (up to 3 years) and research commercialisation activities (up to 2 years); a stage-gate mechanism will be implemented within the funding agreement to assess the viability of the proposed technology and commercialisation pathway to approve commencing research commercialisation along with the release of associated funding
- the applicant must present a proposed scope for research commercialisation of the technology (in the form of a research commercialisation plan), which is expected to be refined during the project
For more information, interested parties are encouraged to read the program guidelines and FAQ set by the funding grant. Submissions for EOI and full application must be lodged through ARENA’s online portal.
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