MB Fund Podcast: The future of manufacturing and energy in Australia, with David Morgan

In today’s investment webinar MB Fund’s Head of Investments Damien Klassen, Head of Advice Tim Fuller and Principal of Iron Matrix, David Morgan discuss the future of manufacturing and energy in Australia.

On the agenda today: Manufacturing revival in Australia (and other western countries), if the declining costs of renewable energy will be enough to overthrow fossil fuels and the cost revelations of what happens if they do

Learn more about Energy Wealthy by David Morgan

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Tim Fuller is Head of Advice at the MacroBusiness Fund, which is powered by Nucleus Wealth.

The information on this blog contains general information and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Past performance is not an indication of future performance. Tim Fuller is an authorised representative of Nucleus Wealth Management, a Corporate Authorised Representative of Nucleus Advice Pty Ltd – AFSL 515796.

Tim Fuller


  1. really good podcast guys.
    hey Damien, something to point in regards to your comments about decentralised manufacturing. You should look closer at 3D printing and how far some companies have advanced this tech. Someone here suggested TTT which is listed on ASX.

    Also here is good place to see on high level what other 3D companies are doing.


      • I confess I haven’t watched the stream yet.

        However, if you didn’t cover it, this appears at face value to be potentially a complete game changer.


        Ok, so it’s an highly specific test sample under extreme conditions – and not room temperature outside of the arctic/antarctic circles, but it IS ocean temperature in much of the world.

        Which then opens up the possibility of the process being perfected and near-zero-loss transmission of electricity over vast distances. Eg the proposed Singapore-Australia link. Or… anywhere we can realistically build a cable really.

        Thoughts? Am I missing something?

    • We have been using 3D printing ever since it began. We have 2 printer usually running full time all day. Although its ok to get some quick prints done for testing and validation its not great and has not progressed well in the last decade. Resolution and accuracy is not great and its still slow. Still way behind CNC machining.

  2. Tim FullerMEMBER

    Our viewer question of the week:
    Do you believe renewables will topple fossil fuels in the next decade?

    • Still to listen….
      Is there credible data showing it can handle projected baseload? Particularly if we start smelting steel & Aluminium industry again? Bottom line – Quanto Costa?

    • Jumping jack flash

      I certainly think that depending on the effects of the debt economy on living costs we are going to see a move towards decentralised energy, exacerbated by electric cars. BUT there will still be need for fossil fuel in industry and for “niche” activities.

      Consider that traditional “industry” is steadily being replaced by debt transfers and growth, at least in this country. Debt has a much smaller carbon footprint than skillfully making useful things to sell to the world for profit.

      Also since electric cars cant tow my caravan [yet] it seems, I’ll still need to keep my diesel SUV, if only for just that purpose.

  3. Currently listing to the podcast. Great concept.
    I had a look at the Iron Matrix site & its quite interesting to see their buildings.
    I was thinking about residential dwellings – not boxy structures completely clad with solar panels as such – but more the idea of disruption among building companies by 3d printed automated tech than can then be sent onsite and then assembled. It costs a lot to build a nice new home currently. Could I suggest a possible future podcast topic that investigates this? Something that integrates a solar roof and some walls would be a good idea for residential dwellings. Is anyone doing anything like this?

  4. Great podcast gents. I would however like to call out an error regarding the query that I think Damian sought from David about the hydrogen being ‘combusted’ in an engine like an ICE.
    This is not the mechanism by which H2 is consumed in a Hydrogen powered electric vehicle, and bears no similarities to an internal combustion engine, as was alluded.
    The most advanced technology by which hydrogen is consumed to power a vehicle is via a hydrogen fuel cell, which generates electricity as hydrogen is combined with oxygen molecules to form water droplets. This electricity goes then to powering electric motors, the water is expelled onto the road. The conversation around hydrogen being a magical substitute (or some nostalgia) for liquid hydrocarbon fuels was rather disturbing, and may have mis-led some listeners… hydrogen will never be combusted to power a motor vehicle!! NOx emissions are one of several key reasons why

    • Not sure that I agree completely with your Hydrogen will never be used in an ICE assertion.
      I definitely agree Hydrogen combustion will not be the primary way that power is created, however In my opinion it still has a place as a backup in hybrid configurations.
      For city driving a Fuel Cell wins out every time but it’s for things like Highway driving especially when towing (say a caravan) that the fuel cell cost to deliver over 50Kw of continuous power just becomes uneconomic. Unfortunate as it might be, the full size SUV’s of tomorrow need to maintain this functionality and capability. The cost for this functionality still favors ICE.
      As for efficiency, it is possible to get 45% conversion efficiency from an ICE engine which is not far from the typical 50% that a fuel cell delivers so it really all comes down to finding a way to operate the engine which prevents N0x emissions. (which to be honest are not really a huge health/ environmental problem when driving long distances, holiday trips towing a caravan etc)

      • Jumping jack flash

        Hence my thought that fossil fuels will still be required but they will become niche and therefore incredibly expensive. But thats the whole point isnt it.

        • Careful there mate, you won’t make any friends around here with that sort of rational thought process.

      • Electric drive is the future… H2 will never feed a ICE in any commercially viable way.

        Electric motors put some 80-90% of the electrical energy to the wheels. ICE’s put some 30% of the energy within the fuel to the wheels. electric drive has near zero maintenance, ICE drive has large maintenance.

        I think CSIRO would know a bit more about this then us, they’re pursuing fuel cell tech. BUT, like David points out, fuel cells don’t look very likely to compete with Li battery tech, so its all a mute point

  5. Biggest battery in the southern hemisphere being installed just near geetroit
    Tesla battery of course, add this:
    scottb1978MEMBER November 6, 2020 at 3:46 pm
    Starlink will likely also be a better option for many within the decade
    Wiley Wolf November 6, 2020 at 5:28 pm
    within the decade, many will have a connection to starlink via their tesla power supply.
    ie the comms will be matrixed into the power supply, Distributed system.

  6. The company I work for is working on a hydrogen energy storage home solution at the moment. It stores electricity generated from your solar panel cells as hydrogen in metal hydride cylinders. https://lavo.com.au/

    As someone directly working in manufacturing and renewables its an industry i love and passionate about but the one hurdle we need to overcome is how to make it scalable and affordable. Most people who want an electric car cant afford it let alone have a place to park and charge it as they live in apartments. They would also love to have solar roof top but again cant afford a house let alone buy a system.

    • I love the idea of metal hydride storage for Hydrogen but in reality it seems to be no better than distributed Pumped Hydro..
      Of course pumped hydro will never be an effective Residential technology but is metal Hydride storage really any better than Ammonia, Methanol or Methane (from Hydrogen) local storage?
      Personally I think that most residential excess PV energy is best stored in a form that the end user needs. So I’m more of the opinion that the user needs access to Hot and Cold more than anything else. 20kl of hot or cold water stores one heck of a lot of energy and is available exactly in the form that the user needs (heat) for the week of cold bleak winter and the very same storage can double as storing Cold for additional AC support for that mega hot mid summer week.

  7. working class hamMEMBER

    Interesting stuff. Combining modular building systems with off grid solar is the future.
    The manufacturing process I feel has the most potential for Aust and could be an avenue for real world Aust jobs.
    The Electrical Supply Industry will eventually go the way of the landline, this type of smarter manufacturing is only going to accelerate that transition.