Lowering the cost of solar thermal power
Although solar thermal offers a number of benefits over other renewable energy technologies, wind, hydro and photovoltaic power stations are still cheaper. Our challenge is to lower the cost of solar thermal power.
Creating a global research initiative
CSIRO is leading this global collaboration, partnering with six Australian universities and, for some projects, with United States partners, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories or Arizona State University.
The goal of the collaboration is to develop concentrated solar thermal technology to supply cheap, zero emission, secure energy for Australia, and the world.
Moving towards our goal
ASTRI is moving closer to its goal of lowering the cost of solar thermal power, by developing a set of relevant standardised measurements and models for Australian conditions to enable accurate and informed commercialisation decisions.
Research nodes and research programs are supported by world-leading economic modelling, knowledge sharing and an education program.
For example, at CSIRO's Energy Centre in Newcastle, NSW, we are developing two competing ASTRI high-temperature technologies at pilot scale for research.
Falling particle technologies
The falling particle installation is a system that uses solid free-flowing fine ceramic media as the heat transfer fluid and thermal storage media.
This system stores solar energy as heat, for temperatures up to 800 degrees Celsius.
Integration Test Facility liquid sodium
The Integration Test Facility has a system installed that uses pure liquid sodium as the heat transfer fluid.
A system is currently being built using liquid sodium metal as the heat transfer fluid, for temperatures up to 740 degrees Celsius.