A technology alliance between CSIRO and global science company DuPont has generated more than 50 worldwide patents in just ten years, the organisations announced today.
CSIRO Chief Executive, Dr Geoff Garrett, and DuPont Australia and New Zealand Managing Director, Mr. Hutch Ranck, agree that the technologies covered by the patents provide huge possibilities for commercialisation of products driven by Australian research.
"Clean green car paints, tyres with better rolling resistance and flocculants for water purification are just some of the applications of the technology that have come out of this highly successful research alliance," says Mr. Ranck.
DuPont has invested $5-million in the alliance. Today's announcement follows the recent presentation of a cheque to CSIRO for the latest alliance instalment. It will further advance the highly successful research partnership into creating designer plastics.
The portfolio of technologies to develop the new polymeric materials is based on research done by CSIRO and led by Dr Ezio Rizzardo who says, "a major benefit of the alliance is that it gives us the scope to carry out cutting edge research in controlling polymer structures, and this has allowed us to become world leaders in the field."
One of the technologies is RAFT - a revolutionary way to control the way polymers form. This gives researchers the ability to tailor make these materials for many different applications, including automotive finishes.
Other targeted, existing and potential applications of the technology include:
• Pigment dispersants for high performance inks. The CSIRO technology will mean that current dispersants can be made more economically and it will allow the development of improved versions,
• Higher performance rechargeable batteries, and
• Compatiblising agents for plastics that presently cannot be mixed to allow more plastics to be recycled.
Dr Annabelle Duncan, Chief of CSIRO Molecular Science, believes the strategic partnership provides another major advantage in that, "DuPont brings extensive production, distribution and marketing capability to the partnership, and this allows us to bring our science, in the form of new products and processes, into the global marketplace quickly and efficiently".
Reflecting on the ten-year alliance, Mr. Ranck describes it as, "having been a catalyst for what has become a growing DuPont commitment towards a more collaborative approach to world-wide research.
"The CSIRO ranks among our most visible alliances alongside such organisations as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, where we are currently collaborating in the area of bio-based materials.
"We also have a number of smaller, but equally important, academic collaborations underway to develop new technologies and will be further expanding this approach to research," predicts Mr. Ranck.
DuPont's future R&D efforts, Mr. Ranck says, will see the company moving its technology capabilities closer to the marketplace to better access the commercialisation process, and to respond to the needs of customers.
"Being closer will mean more relevant research topics in which to invest, and we'll be quicker getting ideas out of the lab and into the market.
"This is happening and will continue to happen, in engineering polymers, agriculture, biotechnology, crop protection chemicals, flat screen imaging, holographic products, fuel cells and solar energy.
"For example, we have signed an agreement with Sustainable Technologies International, based in Queanbeyan, in support of work they are doing in field of solar energy.
"We are leveraging research from all over the world," comments Mr. Ranck.
To further develop this concept, Dr. Thomas Connelly, Senior Vice President and Chief Science and Technology Officer for DuPont, will visit Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane early next year. He will meet with leading research scientists including at Australian universities. Dr Connelly's role is also to evaluate science that will help DuPont reduce the industry's environmental footprint.
Mr Ranck says DuPont has come a long way in reducing its environmental footprint, certainly in reductions of waste and emissions, and over the past decade, has invested over $100-million in projects and programs to substantially reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from its global manufacturing operations.
It has committed to achieve a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from operations by 2010 using 1990 as a base year, and to source 10 percent of its global energy needs from renewable energy by 2010.
DuPont is a science company, delivering science-based solutions that make a difference in people's lives in food and nutrition; health care; apparel; home and construction; electronics; and transportation. The company will be 200 years old next July. It operates in 70 countries and has more than 85,000 employees.