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  • Category


  • Date

    13 April 2016

  • Classification

    Concentrated solar thermal
    Large-scale solar
    Solar energy
    Solar PV R&D

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) today announced nine cutting edge research and development (R&D) projects to be supported through its latest Industry-researcher collaboration R&D funding round.

Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt, Western Australia Minister for Energy Mike Nahan, LandCorp CEO Frank Marra and Curtin University Professor of Sustainability Peter Newman joined ARENA in Perth to mark the occasion.

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said the funding would create clear pathways for renewable energy technologies to move from the laboratory to field by fostering collaboration between research institutions and industry.

“Each successful project is focussed on delivering commercially viable solutions, aimed at solving a current industry challenges,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The rich array of industry partners shows the breadth of sectors that will be involved in the transformation of Australia’s energy networks and systems.

“Research institutions will join the resources, agriculture, finance and property development industries to deliver the projects alongside utilities, power companies and renewable energy businesses.

“ARENA’s $17 million funding is leveraging substantial contributions from private and public sectors, with combined project values totalling more than $54 million. This will tap into our home-grown ingenuity and complement our existing portfolio of 144 R&D projects.”

Mr Frischknecht said the projects would ultimately aim to benefit businesses and consumers by integrating more renewables into our energy networks and industrial processes.

“A range of renewable energy technologies are represented, including storage, biofuels, wave power, solar PV and solar thermal,” Mr Frischknecht said.

“The project led by Curtin University of Technology aims to unlock the potential of renewables in medium density strata developments while the University of Wollongong led one aims to develop a low-cost, high density sodium battery.

“University of Adelaide will lead a project to find out if solar thermal energy can be integrated into Alcoa’s alumina refining process and Queensland University of Technology will work with industry to explore how to produce biogas from sugarcane to further reduce the sugar industry’s fossil fuel use.

The Australian National University is leading three projects, one will develop a system to estimate the power produced by all the rooftop solar PV in a given area, another will look at how robots could capture data for solar installation diagnostics and the third will look at how battery storage and solar can solve network constraint problems on Bruny Island.

“The project led by the University of Western Australia will determine the optimum size and location of wave energy arrays and the University of South Australia led project will develop low cost phase change materials, which can store solar power for the industrial refrigeration market.”

A full list of project partners and complete profiles for each are available in the table below.


Lead organisation

ARENA funding

Total value

Integrating Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy into the Bayer Alumina ProcessUniversity of Adelaide$4,500,000$15,100,000
Smart sodium storage system for renewable energy storageThe University of Wollongong$2,700,000$10,600,000
Consumer energy systems providing cost-effective grid support (CONSORT)Australian National University$2,900,000$8,000,000
Utilising biogas in sugarcane transport and millingQueensland University of Technology$2,100,000$5,700,000
Wave energy cost reduction through location and configuration optimisationThe University of Western Australia$994,000$3,600,000
Real-time operational PV simulations for distribution network service providersAustralian National University$1,010,000$3,300,000
A robotic vision system for automatic inspection and evaluation of solar plantsAustralian National University$875,000$3,100,000
Increasing the uptake of solar PV in strata residential developmentsCurtin University of Technology$900,000$2,600,000
Maximising solar PV with phase change thermal energy storageUniversity of South Australia$995,000$2,100,000

More information

Transcript: ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht addressing R&D funding launch

Last updated 06 September 2019
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