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Project overview
  • Lead Organisation

    CSIRO Energy Flagship

    Location

    Newcastle, New South Wales

    ARENA Program

    Research and Development

  • Start Date

    August 2014

    Status

    Past

  • Project Partners
    Rioglass Solar International, Diver Consolidated Industries

Summary

The project developed a heliostat optimised for deployment in regional and remote areas of Australia. A heliostat is a device used for harnessing the sun’s energy that includes a mirror which moves with the sun to continuously reflect light toward a fixed target.

Need

Regional and remote areas of Australia are particularly attractive for deployment of central receiver solar energy systems. Many remote locations have high quality solar resource, demand growth and are supplied by expensive generators.

High labour rates, distance from major supply centres and extreme site conditions often found in these areas present unique challenges to the design, installation and operation of these systems.

Project innovation

The project developed a heliostat optimised for deployment in regional and remote areas of Australia. A heliostat is a device used for harnessing the sun’s energy that includes a mirror which moves with the sun to continuously reflect light toward a fixed target.

CSIRO investigated the design, installation logistics and maintenance systems.

The high cost of labour in remote areas will be avoided through manufacturing offsite. Automotive style mass manufacturing methods will be applied to the heliostat design and optimised for freighting from existing manufacturing capacity in Australia.

A novel direct drive electric motor was used for the heliostat movement system to extend maintenance intervals by eliminating machine parts susceptible to wear and corrosion.

An advanced control system was developed to allow the heliostats to reflect sunlight accurately without accurate installation, and to eliminate initial and ongoing calibration. This made the site ground conditions less important, speeding up project deployments.

The project also investigated several advanced concepts in heliostat design and assess their suitability for application to remote areas.

This project builds on existing know-how developed by CSIRO. CSIRO has designed and built two high temperature research towers in Newcastle using its existing high precision heliostats.

Benefit

This project significantly reduces cost and risk associated with deploying central receiver systems to regional and remote areas of Australia by developing a complete heliostat design optimised for these areas.

Last updated 15 August 2019
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