Australia’s CSIRO Partners With China To Double World’s Concentrating Solar Thermal Capacity

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Australia’s CSIRO has partnered with Chinese company Thermal Focus in an agreement which will see Australian concentrating solar thermal technology used in China.

CSIRO's solar thermal research facility in Newcastle.China has recently announced plans to produce 1.4 GW of concentrating solar thermal technology (or CST) by 2018, and 5 GW by 2020 — effectively doubling the world’s CST capacity. The partnership will allow Thermal Focus to manufacture, market, sell, and install CSIRO’s patented low-cost heliostats, field control software, and design software throughout China, with a shared revenue stream back to Australia which will in turn fund further climate mitigation research.

“Australia is a leader in clean energy technology and CSIRO’s partnership with China’s Thermal Focus takes our climate mitigation focus to a global stage,” explained CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall. “This is another great example of all four pillars of our Strategy 2020 in action; using excellent science to deliver breakthrough innovation, and through global collaboration, increasing renewable energy deliverables.

“Through this collaboration and our continued solar research, we will be helping to generate cleaner energy, cost savings and technology export benefits for Australia; all lowering global greenhouse gas emissions.”

For the uninitiated, CST technology uses a field of computer-controlled mirrors (or heliostats) that are programmed to always reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver at the top of a tower. In turn, the receiver is used to heat and store hot molten salt, which can generate superheated steam which in turn drives a turbine for electricity generation. CST is a very low-cost method of storing thermal energy, making CST technology a great medium- to large-scale solar power technology, as it is able to generate energy when the sun is shining and even when it’s not.

“CSIRO’s solar thermal technology combined with our manufacturing capability will help expedite and deliver solar thermal as an important source of renewable energy in China,” added Mr Wei Zhu from Thermal Focus, who welcomed the collaboration with one of the world’s leading CST experts. “This partnership will help us commercialise this emerging technology on a larger scale.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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