Could the TRaCE R&D Voucher Program accelerate your clean energy innovation?

By leveraging matched funding, access to infrastructure, tailored expertise, and project facilitation, participants can de-risk early-stage R&D investments and expedite the journey from idea to market-ready solution.

EM Energy ERKH
Image: TRaCE

The Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) R&D Voucher program aims to provide assistance tailored specifically for small-to-medium enterprises, startups, and scaleups navigating the complex landscape of research and development.

TRaCE is a Commonwealth-backed program where the team act as your concierge, guiding you through an ecosystem of support to advance Australia’s manufacturing priorities and contribute to the global push towards Net Zero. At the heart of TRaCE lies the promise of matched funding, ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 for eligible projects.

By mitigating the risks associated with early-stage investment in R&D, TRaCE seeks to empower entrepreneurs to turn their groundbreaking ideas into tangible solutions that address pressing challenges in the energy sector.

The program's focus is on four pivotal themes:

  1. Solar Tech Integration and Scale-Up: Accelerating the adoption and scalability of solar technologies to drive the transition towards renewable energy sources.
  2. Electrifying Energy Systems and Enhancing Storage: Pioneering advancements in clean energy by electrifying energy systems and bolstering storage capabilities to ensure reliability and sustainability.
  3. Scaling Up Green Fuels and Chemicals: Spearheading the expansion of green fuels and chemicals production to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and curb carbon emissions.
  4. Recycling and Reusing Waste Materials: Championing the principles of the circular economy by innovating methods for recycling, reforming, and reusing waste materials, thus minimizing environmental impact.

Businesses exploring opportunities within the TRaCE ecosystem can anticipate a myriad of benefits. These include access to university R&D infrastructure without large capital expenditures, and personalized support through dedicated TRaCE Program Facilitators. Successful ventures also emerge equipped with quantifiable data points and evidence, crucial for engaging potential partners, investors, and customers.

EM Energy, co-founded by Isabel Toasa and Chris Wilson, is the first recipient of the R&D Voucher program. They’re developing the Organic Hydrogen Electrolyser Cell (OHEC), which can produce hydrogen from almost any organic material.

Unlike other hydrogen production technologies, EM Energy’s OHEC doesn’t rely on excessive amounts of water or energy, making it a fitting candidate for power generation or industrial heating in communities with waste biomass. The OHEC just uses waste to produce hydrogen which can be co-located exactly where industries need it to help them decarbonise. 

Through the TRaCE program they have been formally connected with Dr Peter Richardson to kick off a research project to test and validate the production of green hydrogen from the OHEC. After signing on, Isabel and Chris decided to make the move from Sydney to Newcastle to fully immerse themselves in the process. 

“We saw the amount of industry in Newcastle and knew that’s where we’ll scale up,” she said.

Wilson noted the transformative impact of the TRaCE R&D Voucher Program, saying, "it’s going to give us access to some of the really great resources within the University, such as the research staff, equipment and labs, helping us to accelerate our research and development activities for the company."

Application Process:

  1. Check your eligibility: More information here.
  2. Expression of Interest (EOI): Download the EOI form from the TRaCE website.
  3. Complete the EOI: Fill out the form and email it to
  4. EOI Review: EOIs will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  5. Notification: Parties will be notified of the outcome within 10 business days.
  6. Full Application: If selected, submit a full application including detailed project purpose, scope, timing, budget, and deliverables.
  7. Program Facilitator: Work with a Program Facilitator for further guidance.

See what a TRaCE R&D Voucher could do for your business here.

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