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Australian solar thermal technology gains US support to cut industrial emissions

Australia’s Vast Solar is part of a consortium receiving $2.3 million from the US government to develop next-generation concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that will help reduce emissions on large industrial sites.

The funding comes as Vast Solar is eyeing potential CPS projects (which rely on mirrors to focus sunlight onto receivers) in the US against the backdrop of the introduction of the Inflation Reduction Act. A wide range of legislation, including incentives to help businesses tackle climate change and increase investment in renewable energy.

The funding is part of a recent $24 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to advance CSP technology that uses solar energy to generate heat for power generation and industrial processes.
The US IRA policy is a “game changer” for solar heat.

Vast Solar CEO Craig Wood says the Inflation Reduction Act will “change the game for CSPs” in the United States.

“We expect a rapid rollout of factories in sunny states across the United States, helping the country reach its decarbonization goals,” he said.

Wood told RenewEconomy that CSP technology has played a small role in the U.S. energy mix since the 1980s, but the Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in mid-August, has “shifted the economic balance toward the present.” ”, said that it has brought forward the schedule for large-scale dissemination. From the 2030s to the present.

Wood’s comments are consistent with a Credit Suisse report released in September, which said the move “will have a significant impact on the industry as a whole over the next decade and beyond.

Vast Solar’s CSP technology, on the other hand, captures and stores solar energy during the day and uses it to generate heat and electricity for industrial processes at night, creating clean, low-cost dispatchable electricity. It is intended to

In Australia, the technology will be deployed at Vast Solar’s 30MW utility-scale power plant in Port Augusta, South Australia. A 50MW baseload solar hybrid plant is also under development at Mt He Isa, Queensland.

A $2.3 grant from the United States will go to a consortium led by Solar Dynamics, including Vast Solar, to design and test a molten salt thermal energy storage tank.

Enhancing the tank will improve the performance of your CSP plant. CSP plants are one of the proven long-term storage technologies considered essential for power production and decarbonization of industrial process heat.

Solve night power problem.

“Our Australian-made CSP technology produces clean, low-cost dispatchable electricity,” Wood said recently on LinkedIn.

“[It] It’s cheaper than coal or gas and can be stored for 12 hours or more, making it one of the few technologies that can solve the problem of nighttime power. “

In the same LinkedIn post, Wood says Vast Solar is committed to manufacturing CSP technology in Australia, but stresses that it’s “neither cheap nor easy” to do so.

“Support from state and federal governments is key to providing high-tech manufacturing jobs and producing renewable technology at competitive prices for local and international markets,” says Wood.

“Solar thermal technology offers us a significant opportunity to upgrade and reduce the emissions of industrial plants across the country while meeting America’s energy needs with reliable 24/7 power generation.

CSP technology can also be applied to provide heat for a variety of industrial applications such as water desalination, food processing, chemical manufacturing, and mineral processing.

According to Wood, CSP technology has strong support from the office of Climate Change and Energy Minister Chris Bowen. He expects his CSP adoption in Australia’s energy sector to rise in step with the decline in the availability of coal and gas power nationwide.