Robotics and AI are being pushed as part of a new $2m funding scheme to drive innovation in energy resources.

National Energy Resources Australia (NERA) is stumping up the funding for projects in any of four focus areas impacting the energy resources sector: remote operations, robotics and AI; unconventional gas technologies; hydrogen; and decommissioning.

According to Miranda Taylor, chief executive of NERA, the funding will go towards industry-led projects that can strengthen energy resources innovation in Australia.

“We know collaborative partnerships between industry and innovators can produce truly transformational results, and NERA is committed to continuing to support our sector adopt and adapt to new technologies that generate competitive industry outcomes, efficiencies and deliver value and jobs across the nation.

“Through this new project funding announcement, we hope to work with local innovators to build their capacity and capability in fields of robotics and artificial intelligence, which are critical to improving the future productivity and safety of the energy resources sector, as well as developing transferable skills and technologies with benefits across the Australian economy,” she said.

The fund is seeking projects that demonstrate innovative approaches, clear commercialisation applications, and clear project time frames, said Taylor.

“By continuing our sector-wide initiatives, we can unlock more than $10 billion in new value and achieve our vision of Australia as a global energy powerhouse, a sought-after destination for investment, and the leading source of knowledge and solutions,” she said.

Food & Drink Business

Fine Food Australia has cancelled its 2020 trade show due to the reintroduction of stage three COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria. The show was scheduled to take place from 7-10 September in Melbourne.

Freedom Foods Group has advised the ASX that its voluntary trading halt will remain in place until 30 October while it investigates its financial position.

Bega Cheese has announced the reduction and consolidation of its processed cheese production, with 74 jobs to go at its Bega facility by Christmas.