Brisbane Materials is a specialty materials company focusing on creating innovative materials solutions for solar and other applications. Based in Brisbane, QLD Australia and Silicon Valley, the company has patented technology for creating high performance, low-cost wide-area coatings of porous silica and other materials, made at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. For solar applications, the company’s anti-reflective coatings provide a cost-effective power increase when applied to glass, plastic and other substrates.
Brisbane Materials, a UniQuest cleantech start-up based on University of Queensland (UQ) research, has closed its A$5 million Series A funding round with A$2.5 million from the first-ever investment of Australia’s new Southern Cross Renewable Energy Fund (SCREF).
The round was led by Southern Cross Venture Partners (SXVP) and included co-investor New Venture Partners LLC (NVP). The SCREF, managed by SXVP, is a A$200 million partnership between the Australian Government’s Australian Renewable Energy Agency, through its Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund (REVCF) program, and Soft Bank China Venture Capital (SBCVC). The REVCF was set up specifically to assist early stage Australian companies in the renewable energy sector.
The Series A funding will help Brisbane Materials scale up its R&D and manufacturing operations in Brisbane, while expanding sales and marketing efforts around the world.
“To be the very first recipient of an internationally supported cleantech syndication is not only a very significant achievement for Brisbane Materials, but also a resounding vote of confidence in university-based Australian renewable energy research,” said UniQuest Managing Director, David Henderson.
"The journey started from a serendipitous discovery by then PhD student and now the company’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr Michael Harvey, working with his technical co-founder, UQ’s Professor Paul Meredith.
“Under the experienced leadership of US-based CEO, Dr Gary H. Wiseman, the BMT team has continued to develop its unique anti-reflection solar energy technology for export to the US, Asia and Europe.
“This injection of funds has opened up a whole new chapter in its research commercialisation story, and we are proud to have been involved thus far,” Mr Henderson said.
Brisbane Materials patented materials and processes enable the creation of a nano-porous silicon dioxide (SiO2) film from a liquid precursor at room temperature and atmospheric pressure. When applied to solar photovoltaic panels, these films form an anti-reflective coating which provides a significant efficiency improvement, improving the cost effectiveness of solar panels of all types.
UniQuest provided seed funding in March 2011 to form Brisbane Materials, along with angel investors in Silicon Valley and a Queensland government “What’s Your Big Idea” grant.
In July this year, Brisbane Materials formed a strategic partnership with EV Group (EVG), a leading supplier of turnkey manufacturing systems for the solar, display, electronics, and other markets. Under a comprehensive cooperation agreement, EVG has optimised its large-area coating systems for the company’s unique materials and processes, enabling the two companies to provide to customers a turnkey solution for high-yield fabrication of anti-reflective coatings with industry-leading performance and cost.
Brisbane Materials and EVG will be jointly exhibiting at the 27th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference and Exhibition (EU PVSEC) at booth 3.0/26a, from 24-28 September in Frankfurt Germany.
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 70 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $450 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 60+ countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa. www.uniquest.com.au
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