The UNSW SMaRT Centre applied for and received grant funding from the Physical Sciences Fund (PSF) administered by the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer in 2019 to advance the commercialisation of its Green Ceramics technology.

The aim is to help create jobs, particularly in regional areas, and to deliver greater sustainability and circularity of domestic waste materials through commercial operations of this technology.

The grant announcement by the NSW Office of Chief Scientist and Engineer pointed out the ceramics products are made from a variety of waste materials including waste glass, single use coffee cups, used coffee grounds and waste textiles.

The PFS commercialisation program is focused on waste glass ceramics and was instrumental in helping to establish the first commercially operated Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM in regional NSW, run by Kandui Technolology.

Typically, ceramic panels contains between 50 and 80 per cent waste material, with many of these materials being diverted from landfill, although some ceramics can be made from 100 per cent waste materials.

See the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer Hugh Durrant-Whyte in this Green Ceramics video:

SMaRT has developed MICROactorieTM technologies that use various, discreet MICROfactorieTM modules to transform problematic waste materials, such as glass, textiles and plastics, into new value-added materials and products, such as engineered green ceramics for the built environment and plastic filament as a ‘renewable resource’ for 3D printing.

This modular technology is capable of harnessing value from our waste resources to deliver high-value materials and products. The Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM technology produces ceramics that can be used as kitchen benches, table tops, floor tiles, furnishings and for other built environment applications.

The size of the market opportunity for Green Ceramics is large. For instance, the global furniture market is predicted to reach USD $654.6 billion by 2025, according to Market Research Future (MRFR).

Australia's furniture market is expected to Reach AUS $14 Billion by 2022, while Australia's commercial office furniture market was worth approximately AUS $1 billion in 2017 to 2018, with most manufactured overseas.

SMaRT is working with a regional NSW manufacturer based at Cootamundra to set up and operationalise the first Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM focussed on waste glass outside of UNSW.

See this news story about how some of the Green Ceramics made at the Cootamundra MICROfactorieTM went into a Mirvac display apartment.