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 Brisbane Materials 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.

About Brisbane Materials 
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.

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