A University of Newcastle project to find a more energy-efficient and cost-effective way of transporting bulk materials throughout Australia, is one of six new research projects to receive funding under the Australian Research Council's (ARC) Linkage Projects Scheme.
Linkage projects are those in which the University researches in collaboration with businesses, community organisations, industry bodies and other public sector agencies.
The 'Conveyor Belt' project will develop technology to design more energy-efficient conveyors by using a new type of belt cover.
"These belt conveyors use a considerable amount of energy to operate. They can be up to 10 kilometres long, and transport thousands of tonnes of minerals each hour," explained Professor Mark Jones, one of five researchers involved in the project.
"Much of this energy consumption is due to the indentation of the rubber belt as it travels over the supporting rolls. This project focuses on changing the belt properties to reduce this indentation, improve the efficiency of conveying, and hence reduce the associated energy costs."
The project has received $530,000 in funding to work with Conveyor Dynamics Inc., Veyance (formerly Goodyear) Belting and Laing O'Rourke Australia Construction over the next four years.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research), Professor Barney Glover, said the funding was an acknowledgement of the University of Newcastle's outstanding international research profile.
"The announcement by the Australian Government of funding for six new Linkage projects is a clear signal that the University delivers innovative research with real results for the community.
"I am particularly pleased that one project is in the field of sociology, addressing the national priority research area of promoting and maintaining good health.
The sociology project has received $391,000 to contribute to environmental and housing policies and clinical interventions designed to combat disease and disability in older populations.
The other four projects to receive ARC Linkage Projects Scheme funding are in the areas of energy storage, industrial mining, managing contaminants in marine ecosystems, and improving energy efficiency in blast furnace operations.
For comment on the 'Conveyor Belt' project please contact Professor Mark Jones. For general comment on the funding please contact Professor Barney Glover.