Australian composite technology company, Omni Tanker, will upscale its operations to meet international demand, drawing on a $4 million AUD (approx. €2.5 million) equity investment via the Clean Energy Innovation Fund (CEIF).
The CEFC investment, according to Clean Energy Finance Corp., will allow the highly innovative company to contribute to lower emissions in the transport sector.
Omni Tanker is commercialising its technology in the bulk liquid transport equipment market, with the Omni road tanker and the OmniTAINER, a portable tank container (ISO tank) designed for intermodal applications.
The use of carbon fibre composites, with six times the strength to weight of steel, allows for tanks which are more than 35 per cent lighter. With Omni Tanker’s technology, the tanks can transport a wide range of cargoes including corrosive liquids and high purity chemicals.
“This is an exceptional Australian technology, being manufactured in Australia and exported globally,” said CEIF Executive Director, Ben Gust.
“We are very excited to be working alongside Omni Tanker as it scales up to revolutionise the transportation of corrosive and hazardous goods worldwide,” he said.
The combination of light weight and exceptional chemical resistance of Omni Tanker’s carbon fibre tanks means transporting them requires less energy and produces lower emissions. Additionally, while traditional rubber lined stainless steel tanks are dedicated to one product and generally carry goods in only one direction, the chemical resistance and easy washout of the OmniTANK’s patented seamless thermoplastic interior means they can be two-way loaded, reducing asset down time and empty running, increasing the efficiency and capacity of transportation routes.
The ISO tank container market, which already boasts a global fleet of more than 550,000 tank containers, is growing by more than eight per cent a year. Most tank containers are either stainless steel or carbon steel.
The investment marks an exciting milestone for the CEIF, which has now invested $64 million across 10 transactions. The Innovation Fund is the largest dedicated Australian investor of its kind, drawing on $200 million in CEFC finance and operated with the assistance of ARENA.
This latest Innovation Fund investment is part of broader $7.9 million capital raising by Omni Tanker to help it scale up its manufacturing operations to supply ISO tanks internationally.
Omni Tanker’s core business is based on a patented technology invented by the late William (Bill) Rodgers. The technology is used to construct a seamless thermoplastic corrosion barrier with an extraordinary interface strength to a carbon fibre composite tank structure.
Under CEO Daniel Rodgers, Omni Tanker has developed a dominant market position for aggressive corrosive chemical tank haulage within Australia. With approvals now granted for its tanks to transport dangerous goods in the US and Europe, the OmniTAINER is being exported globally. Omni Tanker is also undertaking research and development on a variety of other tank transport applications and other industry opportunities from its platform technology.
“Globally we are seeing significant growth in the tank container market, and transporters and operators are all seeking new ways to improve safety and drive profitability,” said Rodgers.
“Our proven technology is compelling for users of transport tanks and we are scaling our production capability to meet the global demand.
“With this investment we will substantially expand our NSW manufacturing plant and invest in our specialist workforce, enabling a major increase in production capacity by 2020. We are also pursuing other avenues for the technology in collaboration with the University of New South Wales and other industry partners through initiatives including the UNSW centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) and the Australian Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC),” he said.
Gust added: “This investment is about supporting leading-edge innovation to tackle transport-related carbon emissions, which are a significant part of the greenhouse gas emissions challenge. It continues the strong focus of the Innovation Fund in supporting a diverse range of cleantech companies which are capitalising on new business opportunities emerging from our clean energy transition. Companies such as Omni Tanker demonstrate the exciting potential of Australian innovators to lead the transition to a low carbon economy. We are pleased to be able to support Omni Tanker in this next important phase of its growth.”