Implementing thermal energy technology in Cyprus
CSIRO partnered with the Cyprus Institute to design and install a solar field of sun-reflecting mirrors on the southern coast of Pentakomo, Cyprus. The research facility will be used to generate electricity and provide fresh water by powering energy intensive desalination plants.
Cyprus currently relies heavily on oil to generate electricity. Due to its climate, it is also reliant on drawing fresh water from seawater, which requires a significant energy input. To reduce carbon emissions and satisfy European legislation, Cyprus is now committed to generating more sources of renewable energy.
CSIRO is applying its Australian renewable energy technology to Cyprus. In Newcastle, NSW, CSIRO has developed two solar thermal test plants with more than 600 heliostats. Heliostats are specialised mirrors that track the sun and reflect the sun's light towards a central receiver which causes the receiver to heat up. The heat is subsequently used to drive a turbine for generating electricity. Thermal energy can be stored relatively cheaply compared to other technologies, improving the potential for large scale power generation regardless of when the sun is shining.
CSIRO researchers and Pentakomo locals were able to build a 50-heliostat installation. The field is currently being used for demonstration purposes, but the technology will likely be applied commercially in the long term.
The establishment of the installation distinguishes Cyprus as one of the few countries in the world with a pioneering facility in the field of solar thermal technology.