According to Eureka Alert, Australia’s solar heliostat technology will be optimised for concentrating solar thermal electricity generation in China. In a continued emphasis on extenuation and adaption, CSIRO has partnered with Chinese company Thermal Focus following their announcement to produce 1.4 gigawatts of CST (concentrating solar thermal) by 2018 and 5 gigawatts by 2020. This would double the world’s installed CST plants.
This relationship will enable Thermal Focus to manufacture, market, sell and install CSIRO’s patented low-cost heliostats, field control software and design software in China. A shared revenue stream will come back to Australia to fund further climate research. Dr Larry Marshall, CSIRO Chief Executive, said that he was proud of CSIRO Energy’s solar thermal technology and its innovative science for the contribution it’s making in support of Australia’s research and development sector.
Marshall also added that Australia is a leader in clean energy technology and CSIRO’s partnership with China’s Thermal Focus takes climate change focus to the worldwide stage. He also said that it’s one great example of all the 4 pillars of their 2020 strategy in action, using excellent science in delivering breakthrough innovation. And with worldwide collaboration, it will increase renewable energy deliverables.
One of the advantages of the solar thermal tech system is the low cost of storing thermal energy, giving CST big potential for medium to large-scale solar power even if there’s less sunlight.
CSIRO’s design features a unique and smaller design as compared to conventional heliostats. It also uses an advanced control system to get high-performance from cost-effective design. The software enhances the heliostats configuration prior to the construction and manages each of the heliostats to ensure the maximum amount of reflected heat is focused on the receiver, maximising the amount of power that can be produced.
The agreement on licensing with Thermal Focus follows CSIRO’s successful international solar thermal partnership with Japan’s Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and the Cyprus institute and Heliostat SA in Australia.
Featured Image Credit: National Nuclear Security Administration