- Greatcell Australia to provide bespoke solar cell power to defence, agriculture and transport businesses
- The company joined Charles Sturt’s AgriPark in August 2020
- The AgriPark Forum on Thursday 29 April will provide insight into partnership benefits and opportunities
A solar technology business based in the Wagga Wagga Special Activation Precinct was able to thrive during COVID-19 due to the assistance provided through the Charles Sturt University AgriSciences Research and Business Park (AgriPark) in Wagga Wagga.
While presenting a business case to Regional Development Australia (Riverina) to establish his business in Wagga Wagga, Greatcell Australia managing director Mr Paul Moonie was encouraged to join the AgriPark.
“Wagga Wagga is an attractive location for high-tech staff, which we need, to move here,” he said.
“We considered a lot of locations when establishing this business but Wagga Wagga’s location and the addition to the AgriPark made keeping our business in regional NSW an attractive option.”
With the intention to use the existing technology to target niche markets Mr Moonie, along with a team of scientists and entrepreneurs, reinvigorated a technology company that failed in 2018.
Greatcell takes advanced solar technology (perovskites) from the lab into production for commercialisation to provide bespoke solar cells for defence, agriculture and manufacturing.
“We will soon provide continuous power to wireless and/or mobile applications in areas such as indoors, farms, factories and transport,” he said.
Mr Moonie said the benefits can reach many facets of agriculture, with a potential example including wireless sensing for farmers to manage their property. Greatcell offers a power solution to recharge batteries, which could be used to monitor cattle location and property conditions.
“Solar energy has been typically viewed as a panel on a roof, or a solar farm,” Mr Moonie said.
“What our technology does is increase the number of applications where it can be useful.”
Mr Moonie worked with Charles Sturt’s National Life Sciences Hub (NaLSH) to utilise the NaLSH’s analytical equipment, networking and support systems.
“Charles Sturt University has a lot of research and laboratory resources, which are valuable to industry,” he said.
“For companies hoping to utilise some of the equipment that may be too expensive or an unjustifiable purchase, AgriPark can facilitate the outsourcing of these resources to industry, which Greatcell has benefitted from already.”
AgriPark has 20 partners, nine of which joined in 2020, with more than 100 staff from the private sector, research, accelerator programs and government agencies working to solve issues unique to Australia’s climate, farming systems and conditions.
Other collaborations to emerge from seed funding from AgriPark include a skills audit with Regional Development Australia and the University’s Institute for Land, Water and Society, Bridge Hub supporting the National Wine and Grape Industry Centre on developing water-saving technology in vineyards, and the Graham Centre for Agricultural Innovation teaming with the NSW Department of Primary Industries to conduct research with oilseed companies.
Charles Sturt Director of External Engagement in Wagga Wagga and Albury-Wodonga Ms Samantha Beresford said the partnership with Greatcell is an example of the benefits of collaboration between the AgriPark and the Wagga Wagga Special Activation Precinct (SAP).
“The complementary relationship of the AgriPark and SAP is demonstrated by Greatcell Australia, one of the innovative companies that has recently moved into the SAP,” she said.
“Charles Sturt University has the knowledge and infrastructure to assist companies, such as Greatcell, that are moving into the SAP.
“As an important part of the Wagga Wagga community and an anchor institution for the region, Charles Sturt will be integral in helping achieve the desired outcomes of the SAP.
“The University has world-class facilities that we are proud to be able to share through our AgriPark partnership. Further partnerships will ensure the security and longevity of the agricultural and farming industry through new innovations and technologies.”
The AgriPark Forum will be held in Wagga Wagga on Thursday 29 April.