Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy


The UNSW SMaRT Centre is the recycling stream lead for the $277 million Trailblazer for Recycling and Clean Energy (TRaCE) Program.

Hosted by UNSW and in partnership with the University of Newcastle and many industry partners, the TRaCE Program runs for four years from 2023 to help Australia and the world transition to sustainable recycling and clean energy solutions and systems. 

Federal Government funding of $50 million has been matched by $50 million cash and $47 million in-kind from UNSW and the University of Newcastle for the recycling and clean energy initiative.

Over 20 industry partners have expressed support for the initiative and have committed more than $130 million in cash and in-kind contributions, with over 25% of the partners aligned to SMaRT Centre projects.

SMaRT is working with its partners to accelerate commercialisation of several of its recycling MICROfactorieTM and other technologies.


Visit the dedicated TRACE website

Download SMaRT's MICROfactorieTM flier

Download SMaRT's Green Metals flier

The TRaCE Program is led by Executive Director, Professor Emmanuel Mastio, and Meg McDonald, Member of the NSW Net Zero Emissions and Clean Economy Board, is Chair of the TRaCE Governance Board. 

Government Trailblazer website and announcement

SMaRT Centre announcement

UNSW announcement

UoN announcement

Key facts

  • Partners include 27 industry partners (80% SMEs) and CSIRO, who will develop specialised facilities to support work on electrification and solar.
  • 25% of partners are for SMaRT Centre recycling initiatives.
  • Areas of focus will be:
    • Next Generation Solar and PV
    • Sustainable Fuels and Chemical Manufacturing
    • Recycling and MICROfactories™
    • Electrification, Energy Systems and Storage
    • Leveraging SMaRT's Green SteelTM technology for aluminium
  • Analysis (PwC Australia) found TRaCE will support 380 direct jobs and 100 indirect jobs during each year of the program.
  • The program will contribute $212M to GDP after four years, not counting the more than $200M program budget.
  • Importantly, TRaCE will seed long term potential, creating 52 new patents, moving 54 technologies up the value chain, and bringing 57 new products to market.
  • The technologies developed in TRaCE are projected to support up to 5,200 jobs in recycling and clean energy industries and their supply chains.
  • Across a 20-year timeframe, TRaCE will contribute up to $15B to GDP.

In partnership with industry, the universities have secured investment and commitments for the development and commercialisation of solutions helping Australia and the world transition to more sustainable energy and material systems in the following priority areas:

  • Electrification, Energy Systems and Storage
  • Sustainable Fuels and Chemicals Manufacturing (with a special focus on Power-to-X “P2X” based production methods for hydrogen and sustainable aviation fuels)
  • Next Generation Solar PV and Systems
  • Recycling and MICROfactoriesTM