Industry Research Partnership Case Studies

How industrial partnerships help turn good ideas into real world benefits.

  Green Steel 

   Industry Partner: OneSteel

 Professor Veena Sahajwalla (left)


UNSW’s world-first patented “green steel” making process, Polymer Injection Technology (PIT) is optomising electric arc furnace steelmaking in Australia and overseas with significant environmental benefits and cost savings.

A productive partnership with the Australian steel manufacturer, OneSteel, enabled UNSW to take PIT through pilot trials and industrial testing to commercialisation and licensing, in Australia and overseas.

The process was invented by Professor Veena Sahajwalla. She discovered that by introducing a granulated blend of carbon-based waste into an EA furnace at very high temperatures the waste undergoes a complete transformation, reacting with slag and dissolving into liquid steel; thereby realizing zero waste, toxin-free recycling.

The patented Polymer Injection Technology precisely calibrates an optimum waste mix. The new “green steel” process demonstrates that it is possible to absorb major waste streams in electric arc furnace (EAF) steel-making while improving furnace efficiency and, consequently, reducing electricity usage.

The incorporation of PIT into OneSteel’s commercial furnaces over the last four years has achieved a 10-20 percent reduction in coke consumption, saved millions of Kwhs of power, absorbed large amounts of waste and reduced production costs by 15-35 per cent.


 Probiotics for the polluted plumbing of the planet

  Industry partner: Orica

 Dr Mike Manefield


A UNSW research team is working on cultivating bacteria that break down industrial toxins in contaminated groundwater.

The team, led by Associate Professor Mike Manefield of the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, isolated three naturally occurring bacterial communities that live on industrial pollutants, including chloroform.

The bacteria were bred in beer barrels and injected into a Botany aquifer near Sydney airport that had been polluted by a former ICI chemical plant.  

Through a process known as bioremediation, Manefield and postdoctoral researchers Matthew Lee, Adrian Low and Joanna Koenig showed the bacteria's natural ability to degrade and clean up chlorinated solvents.

As well as the Botany project, the team is working on a polluted site in Deer Park, Melbourne.

The research is being conducted in partnership with Orica, Dow Chemical and Microverse.



 Novel eye test for macular degeneration that enables mass vision screening

  Industry Partner: Atomo Pty Ltd

Dr Avudai Avudainayagam & Dr Chitra Avudainayagam (left to right)


When most people look at the clear blue sky they see a fan like pattern of light. Called Haidinger’s Brush, this pattern is caused by our ability to see the polarisation of light. Drs Avudai and Chitra Avudainayagam of the School of Optometry and Vision Science have used this phenomenon as the bases for developing a test for the mass screening of macular degeneration.

The test device involves projecting the Haidinger’s Brush pattern onto a screen. The test can be incorporated into portable devices for optometrists as well as unlikely places such as shop windows and even cinemas, shown to audiences while waiting for the movie to start.

Chitra Avudainayagam first noticed the Haidinger’s Brush pattern when she was growing up in India but only later realised its significance. The test is designed in a way that enables it to be brought free to the masses and was developed in partnership with Atomo Pty Ltd, a medical diagnostics company.

Protecting our water supply

Industry Partner: Diagnostic Technology Pty Ltd

Eureka! Brett Neilan wins again

Some blue green algae toxins can be fatal to humans and animals. Brett Neilan has pin pointed the genes that cause potent toxins in blue green algae. He has also developed an early warning system that differentiates harmful and non-harmful species. His technology was successfully applied to the blue green algal infestation in Warragamba damn, 2007 that threatened Sydney’s water supply. Its application meant further costly testing could be avoided. The outcomes were reported to the NSW State Parliament. 
Diagnostic Technology Ltd Pty has licensed this technology and patents are being issued in Australia, Europe, Japan, USA and South Africa.