Uni startup makes the list of Australia's Top 100 Innovators

Thursday, 26 August 2021

University spin-out powering the renewables transition attracts significant venture investment and recognised nationally as top 100 innovator.

Erich Kisi

MGA Thermal (a University of Newcastle spin-out) has been named one of the top 100 innovators in the country by The Australian. It's also recently raised $8 million to expand its manufacturing capacity and export its thermal energy storage system globally.

The company was founded in 2019 by University of Newcastle researchers Professor Erich Kisi, Dr Dylan Cuskelly and Dr Alexander Post, who were able to commercialise their technology by licensing the intellectual property from the University.  Together, they're driving the shift to renewable energy by providing a new way to store energy that’s clean, economical and scalable.

MGA Thermal is built on a breakthrough technology called Miscibility Gaps Alloy (MGA) - a new type of thermal storage that comes in block form and is capable of receiving energy generated by renewables and storing it cheaply and safely as thermal energy.  Stackable like LEGO®, MGA blocks can be added or removed to scale a system up or down to meet market demand, with the potential to store millions of kilowatt hours of energy.

The company participated in the University of Newcastle’s Incubator program, which is delivered by the Integrated Innovation Network (I2N) - our entrepreneurship and venture development unit. I2N supports new and scaling ventures by providing connections to the business community, customers and capital.

According to MGA Thermal co-founder Alexander Post, "I2N was first port of call in learning how to market our technology.”  The company is currently with partners such as E2S Power AG and Peregrine Turbine Technologies LLC to deploy the technology in Australia, Europe and North America.

The Australian's list of the top 100 innovators also includes Temple & Webster, which was co-founded by University of Newcastle alumnus Adam McWhinney and Mineral Carbonation International, which has a research pilot site on our NIER precinct.

Over the past five years, I2N has supported more than 100 teams and businesses, which have raised over $18 million to advance their ideas and innovations.  I2N has also created a community of more than 4,900 entrepreneurs who share their experiences and lessons learned on the road to commercial successes.

The List: 100 Innovators is a 112-page special edition magazine published by The Australian. It's available online to subscribers of The Australian.  The list was curated and edited by The Australian's technology editor David Swan, who drew on advice from a panel of experts including former Netflix CMO Jackie Lee-Joe, Engineers Australia chief engineer Jane MacMaster, Culture Amp CEO Didier Elzinga, ANU Chancellor Julie Bishop, Carlton Football Club president-elect Luke Sayers, Business leader David Gonski, Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams, Atlassian work futurist Dominic Price, UTS innovation advisor Roy Green, and Hipages CEO Roby Sharon-Zipser.

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