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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    The University of Adelaide


    Adelaide, South Australia

    ARENA Program

    Research and Development

  • Start date

    12 April 2016

    End date

    30 September 2023

  • Project Partners
    UNSW Australia, San Diego State University, IT Power Australia Pty Ltd, Hatch Associates Pty Ltd, ETH Zurich, CSIRO, Alcoa of Australia Limited


The Integrating Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy project will evaluate the potential for energy produced from concentrating solar thermal (CST) technologies to be integrated into the Bayer alumina refining process. It will develop the technologies and process knowledge to enable the progressive integration of low temperature CST, solar reforming of natural gas, and high temperature CST into the existing Bayer process.


By enabling CST to be integrated into processes used by large industrial energy end users operating in Australia, the project will help to address Australia’s exposure to anticipated rises in the price of natural gas, while also helping to meet greenhouse gas emission targets.

The Integrating Concentrating Solar Thermal Energy project will also open the door to new markets for products with lower carbon intensity by offering a way to displace up to 45 per cent of natural gas consumption with solar energy.

Project innovation

By successfully integrating CST into the operation of a large industrial energy end user located in Australia, the project aims to advance understanding of the use of CST technology for industrial process heat. It will develop technologies to maintain continuous production through hybridisation with solar energy to reduce the use of fossil fuels by up to 45 per cent.


The project has the potential to offer significant benefits to Australia including:

  • decreasing operating cost for fuel (noting natural gas prices are anticipated to rise)
  • reducing greenhouse gases emissions
  • opening up access to new markets for low-carbon, high value products
  • increasing the commercial competitiveness of the alumina sector by providing technical solutions
  • creating the potential to transfer the technological solutions to other mining and minerals processing operations in Australia.
Last updated 05 April 2023
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