High Tech Industry in the Illawarra: HYSATA and SICONA

High Tech Industry in the Illawarra: HYSATA and SICONA

The Illawarra region has a long history of heavy industry and innovation. Ranging from a century of coal mining across the escarpment to steel manufacturing at the Steel Works in Port Kembla. And in more recent years the University of Wollongong Innovation Campus at North Wollongong where new and emerging technologies are fostered and incubated.

Wollongong’s heavy industrial businesses have traditionally been energy hungry enterprises, requiring huge amounts of electricity to operate and produce products such as world leading COLOURBOND, an innovation born in the Illawarra during the 1960’s¹.

In 2023, this history of local industrial innovation continues, joining the global movement aiming for global decarbonisation. A new push for ‘Green Energy’ with low emissions and new energy sources that are not derived from traditional fossil fuels such as coal and oil.

The new era of innovation includes ‘Green Hydrogen’ for powering industrial plants. Green hydrogen is expected to contribute 20% of the total abatement required by 2050 for net zero and will be crucial to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors like steel, chemicals, high grade heat and heavy transport².

Riding this wave of  ‘Green Energy’ is local green hydrogen start-up company ‘Hysata’ whom MMJ Commercial Leasing team recently brokered the deal for their new facility in Port Kembla. An 8,000 square metre global head quarters and electrolyser manufacturing facility. A facility where 44 new jobs have already been created and rapid expansion is underway for up to 200 employees in the short term.


Of significance is their new more efficient electrolyser for the production of hydrogen. That efficiency translates into significant improvement in the economic viability of green hydrogen. The Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), has given a vote of confidence in Hysata’s technology by announcing a $20.9 million grant from its Advancing Renewables Program. So too, the German government have invested significant funds, recognising the global potential of the technology.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy the Hon Chris Bowen MP is quoted as saying “We’re delighted to support game-changing, homegrown innovation that will power our future as a clean energy manufacturer and a renewable energy superpower³ . Energy Minister Chris Bowen also said it was a "big deal" for Australia's decarbonisation goals.

The Federal Governments commitment heralds not only a bright future for green energy, but for the Illawarra to attract new and emerging technology companies to the region. Strong signs of this are evidenced by another emerging company ‘Sicona Battery Technologies’ who recently leased laboratory space in North Wollongong with the assistance of the MMJ Commercial Leasing Team.


Sicona develops next generation battery materials technology used in the anodes (negative electrodes) of lithium-ion (“Li-ion”) batteries that enable electric-mobility and storage of renewable energy. They will be designing, developing and deploying new battery technology set for use in EV’s in the future. In short, they are leading the way in battery technology, meaning strong interest from large global players including the largest car manufacturers. All ‘scaleable’ and all founded here in the Illawarra!

The Illawarra’s long history of being a global hub for coal mining and steel production looks set to be redefined to ride the global wave of emerging transitional energy industries and supporting manufacturing, bringing broadened and renewed opportunities for our region for decades to come. This brings with it exciting new opportunities for generations to come, building on the foundations set in place by companies like BHP a century ago.



1 - In the 1950s, things began to change. The Chicago based Lithostrip Corporation and Pre Finish Metals discovered a way to successfully bond paint to a galvanised base, and John Lysaght brought the new technology to Australia.

Much time and effort was invested in getting the process and the resulting product exactly right and in 1966 the first coil of COLORBOND® steel rolled off the Number 1 coil painting line at Port Kembla, Wollongong. The new line was the talk of the steel industry, and its new product soon became a firm favourite in the building industry.

2 https://hysata.com

3 https://hysata.com

4 ABC Illawarra / Tim Fernandez https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-08-15/hysata-begins-building-worlds-most-efficient-electrolyser/102729908

5 https://siconabattery.com/