Blog icon

The challenge

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.

Close up view of solar thermal Tower 2 solar receiver

Our response

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.

The results

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.

Diagram of a solar thermal system that uses liquid sodium as the heat transfer fluid

Do business with us to help your organisation thrive

We partner with small and large companies, government and industry in Australia and around the world.

Contact us now to start doing business

Contact us

Find out how we can help you and your business. Get in touch using the form below and our experts will get in contact soon!

CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and our Privacy Policy.

First name must be filled in

Surname must be filled in

I am representing *

Please choose an option

Please provide a subject for the enquriy

0 / 100

We'll need to know what you want to contact us about so we can give you an answer

0 / 1900

You shouldn't be able to see this field. Please try again and leave the field blank.