Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

Australia Solar Technology Makes Storage Breakthrough

By Giles Parkinson

Novatec Solar – a company majority owned by Australia’s Transfield Holdings – has commissioned a solar thermal energy demonstration plant in Spain that is based on a new type of molten salt storage technology.

The Germany-based Novatec Solar says the new plant uses a process called direct molten salt or DMS technology – where inorganic salts are used as a heat transfer fluid rather than oils.

This means that the plant can operate at temperatures well above 500°C, resulting in a significant increase in power yield. This means that costs are lowered significantly and the solar plants can act as baseload generators if required.

Andreas Wittke, CEO of Novatec Solar, which is 85% owned by Australia’s Transfield Holdings, says this means that the technology will be able to operate on a “commercial” basis.

Solar novatec

“The successful commissioning and the initial results of the DMS demo plant have confirmed our expectations of the technology,” he said in a statement.

“We are delighted that we can now offer solar thermal power plants with molten salt technology and thermal storage on a commercial basis.”

The use of DMS technology is being used at the 110 MW Crescent Dunes power tower unit nearing completion in Nevada, which will be the largest solar thermal plant with storage in the world.

Novatec Solar will use DMS with its linear Fresnel technology, which has been deployed as a demonstration “solar booster” at the Liddell coal generator in NSW (pictured), and is being mooted for a renewables-based replacement for the Collinsville coal-fired power station in Queensland.


Wittke says that the demonstration plant in southern Spain that features this new technology will be used to simulate a large number of different operating conditions to help develop the next generation of solar thermal power plants.

The storage capability means that the thermal energy can either be directly converted into electrical power or be stored in large molten salt tanks during periods of low demand.

This stored energy can be kept in reserve for times when production is low, for example when the sky is overcast. Solar thermal power plants with storage systems can supply electricity as and when required, which helps to ensure grid stability.

The molten salt technology was developed by BASF for the Fresnel collector technology, which uses flat glass reflectors rather than parabolic trough collectors.

The reflectors concentrate direct sunlight onto a receiver, through which the molten salt is pumped. This has the effect of heating the salt to temperatures in excess of 500°C.

“Our knowledge of salt chemistry and the new technology concepts are contributing to a significant improvement in the efficiency of solar thermal power plants,” says Kerstin Dünnwald, Head of Business Management for Inorganic Chemicals at BASF.

The DMS demonstration collector project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) following a decision by the German parliament.

Source: RenewEconomy. Reproduced with permission.

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!
Written By

is the founding editor of, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia's energy grid with great interest.


You May Also Like


Group14 has secured a $400 million investment from Porsche that will help build a new factory for its silicon-anode batteries.


A hundred million years of evolution could save airlines millions of dollars.


CATL intends to build a $5 billion battery recycling facility in China.


As Australia moves glacially towards exporting products that mitigate climate change instead of exporting products that increase it, Western Australia is taking Robyn Denholm’s...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.