Building on an existing testing and demonstration facility comprising 200 mirrors, Vast Solar constructed and deployed an additional 500 mirrors, developed a higher temperature receiver, operated the facility and gathered performance data, then determined operational requirements.
Concentrating solar thermal (CST) power plants involving a solar array (field of mirrors), central receiver (known as a power tower) and storage technologies have strong potential to reduce the cost of solar energy to levels comparable with wind-generated energy (around $100 per megawatt hour). Various design strategies are being trialled in the US, Europe and elsewhere to achieve this.
- Name: James Fisher, Chief Technology Officer
- Email: email@example.com
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In Australia, Vast Solar has developed innovative designs for high efficiency/low cost components that can be used in solar thermal central receiver power plants with integrated energy storage. These components have already been tested individually and as an integrated system.
This project helped Vast Solar’s innovations move to the next level by confirming the accuracy of computer modelling used to predict the performance of Vast Solar’s CST system.
Building on an existing testing and demonstration facility in NSW comprising 200 mirrors, the project involved Vast Solar undertaking the following:
- construction and deployment of an additional 500 heliostats (mirrors)
- development of a higher temperature receiver (which collects the solar energy reflected onto it by the mirrors) to replace the current device
- operation of the facility for 18-24 months to gather performance data
- determination of operational requirements for the chosen heat temperature fluid (which transfers and stores the solar energy).
Data was collected on the expected energy generation and reliability of the system, in anticipation of a scale-up to full commercialisation of the technology.
The information was used to refine plant controls, enhance economic modelling and improve the design of the components and the computer modelling tools used to predict system performance.
This project provided Vast Solar with data on system performance for use in the continued development and commercialisation of CST technology that will break the $100 per megawatt hour barrier.