Solar Research Succeeds in Winning ARC Linkage

An investigation which aims to reduce the levelised cost of solar thermal energy by 40 per cent relative to present hybrids has successfully won an Australian Research Council Linkage Project application.

The Centre for Energy Technology (CET) Director Professor Gus Nathan heads up the successful application team which includes other Adelaide University staff Associate Professor Bassam Dally, Dr Zeyad Alwahabi, and RWTH Aachen University’s Prof Heinz Pitsch. The industry partner is Petratherm, parent company of Heliotherm.

Concentrated solar radiation in thermal power generation remains significantly more expensive than many alternative energy sources. One approach to reduce the cost of solar thermal energy is to combine it with established technologies using fossil fuels. Such ‘hybrid’ systems can typically halve the cost of solar thermal power. However, this is achieved at the expense of reducing solar contribution to around 5 per cent of total output.

This project supports the development of a new Australian renewable energy technology with a world-wide application through the first detailed investigation between concentrated solar radiation and a flame by the joint application of advanced laser diagnostics and modelling.

Not only does the novel approach offer cost reductions, it also trebles the proportion of renewable energy and provides full base-load capability. An immediate application includes the potential use by off-grid sites such as remote mines in Australia and globally.

CET is part of the Institute for Mineral and Energy Resources (IMER).


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