Q: What is the PFHN Seed Grant?  

The Powerfuels including Hydrogen Network (PFHN) Seed Grant Program (Seed Grant) has been established to provide an impetus for technological innovation at network universities, in the pursuit of developing solutions for the widespread deployment of powerfuels economy in the State of NSW. The seed funding is aimed at technology research, development, and demonstration projects at universities that typically face challenges in securing funding within competitive schemes run by NSW and the Commonwealth Government. 

Q: How does the PFHN Seed Grant work?  

PFHN Seed Grants offer between $50,000 and $100,000 (GST exclusive) per project to support technology commercialisation. Seed Grants funds must be supported by 1:1 cash contribution from industry partner/s. Projects will run for a maximum period of 12 months following the execution of contracts. Seed Grants are intended to translate power fuels technologies at Technology Readiness Levels (TRL) 3-6 to higher TRL, bridging the gap in funding for research and commercial potential. The Seed Grant will encourage collaboration projects between research and industry through a defined pathway with commercialisation impacts of decarbonisation innovation.  

Q: Who is eligible to apply and what are the requirements for project proposals?  

The lead applicant organisation must: 

  • be an existing university or government agency that is a Partner of the PFHN  
  • hold and comply with all necessary authorisations that are material to the conduct of the business of the applicant(s). 

The project proposal must: 

  • Involve participation by at least one industry partner (i.e. industry, community or government organisation) having an operational footprint in NSW.  
  • Attract matching 1:1 cash co-investment from industry partner organisations. Contributions should be at least equal to the requested funding amount from the Seed Grant.  
  • Involve the development of a powerfuel technology project currently classified at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 3-6.  

Q: Can I apply if I’m not associated with an existing PFHN partner?  

Only existing PFHN partners (as of December 2023) can apply for Round 1 Seed Grants.  

Partners at this time are: the University of NSW Sydney, University of Newcastle, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, University of Wollongong, and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. 

New PFHN partners joining the network after December 2023 will be eligible for future rounds of Seed Grants.  

Q: Do I need to provide matched funding?   

Matching 1:1 cash co-investment from industry partner organisations is required. Contributions should be at least equal to the requested funding amount from the Seed Grant.  

Q: Do I need to work with other universities and research institutions?   

Collaboration project proposals are strongly encouraged to involve multiple PFHN partners as research partners. The involvement of other Australian and international universities as research partners is encouraged, but no funds may be spent for research activity outside of NSW and by a non-partner organisation of PFHN.  

Q: What technologies does the PFHN Seed Grant support?  

Power-to-X technologies are identified as Technology Readiness Levels between 3-6 across the value chain.  

Q: Who will hold the intellectual property rights in my solution?  

The PFHN will not hold any rights to Intellectual Property (IP), royalties or financial returns resulting from the project. 

Q: What are the proposal assessment criteria?   

  1. Project Quality and Innovation (30%): the proposal is unique and novel and is not a duplication of an existing grant or proposal.  
  1. Alignment with Net-Zero Targets (30%): the proposal reflects the mission of the NSW Decarbonisation Innovation Hub in supporting the NSW Government’s goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050. 
  1. Partnership (15%): the proposal demonstrates genuine collaboration between partner universities and industry. 
  1. Delivery (10%): the proposal is definitive and realistic in its goals, demonstrating a pathway to realising milestones 
  1. Translation Opportunity (15%): the proposal demonstrates a pathway to commercialisation of the technology. 

Q: Who will assess my applications?   

The assessment and selection of proposals for funding will be undertaken by an Assessment Committee (Committee) comprising eminent members of industry, research and government, valued for their expertise and understanding of Power-to-X associated technological innovations, and the pathways to commercialisation.  

Q: How will the successful applicants be notified?   

All applicants will be informed of the outcome promptly upon the final funding decision being made as per the stipulated Application Timeline. Unsuccessful applicants will receive feedback outlining the reason(s) their proposal was not chosen for funding, and any suggestions for improvement for possible resubmission in a future Funding Call. 

Successful Seed Grant applicants will also be published on the decarbhub.au website. 

Q: When will the PFHN Seed Grants close?   

Round 1 of PFHN Seed Grants will close at 9:59 am AEDT on Monday 11 March 2024. Applications must be submitted using the online form with all requirement materials before round close time. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Q: My question hasn’t been answered, where can I find out more? 

For more information, please contact us at: pfhn@decarbhub.au