15 C
Byron Shire
April 18, 2021

Supercritical solar a ‘game changer’

Latest News

Flawed plan

Kai Beijerbacht, Mullumbimby For those of you who haven’t been living under a rock, I’m sure you are aware of the...

Other News

DPI has an eye on Lismore’s yellow crazy ants

The yellow crazy ant (Anoplolepis gracilipes) is a species of ant, originally from Southeast Asia, that has been accidentally introduced to numerous places in the world – including Lismore.

Linen SHIFT project urgently needs new home

With a vision to disrupt the cycle of women’s homelessness, the Linen SHIFT project was born to provide unique individual support and education for at-risk women in a safe residential environment, but today they they have been forced to close.

Francis Cloake in running for National Portrait Prize

Byron Bay's Francis Cloake is one of two Northern Rivers photographers named as a finalist in the prestigious Living Memory: National Photographic Portrait Prize.

Policy not ‘housekeeping’

Heather Martin, Mullumbimby According to a report in The Echo (24 March), the planning staff’s proposed amendments to LEP 2014...

Professor Graham Samuel says dementia care is personal

In a moving address to the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday, Dementia Australia Chair Professor Graham Samuel AC shared his personal experience of dementia – the anguish, bewilderment, frustration and torment experienced by his mother as she descended into the abyss of the disease.

Hippie fools

Edward Kent, Suffolk Park So, have the ‘hippie’ hipsters of Byron Bay figured out how the new global establishment party at...

The CSIRO has made a breakthrough in the use of solar energy.
The CSIRO has made a breakthrough in the use of solar energy.

The CSIRO has used solar energy to generate hot and pressurised ‘supercritical’ steam, at the highest temperatures ever achieved in the world outside of fossil fuel sources.

According to CSIRO, supercritical steam is a breakthrough for solar energy and means that one day the sun could be used to drive the most advanced power stations in the world, currently only driven by coal or gas.

CSIRO’s energy director Dr Alex Wonhas said this milestone is a ‘game changer for the renewable energy industry’.

‘It’s like breaking the sound barrier; this step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources,’ Dr Wonhas said.

‘Instead of relying on burning fossil fuels to produce supercritical steam, this breakthrough demonstrates that the power plants of the future could instead be using the free, zero-emission energy of the sun to achieve the same result.

‘
Supercritical solar steam is water pressurised at enormous force and heated using solar radiation.

Around 90 per cent of Australia’s electricity is generated using fossil fuel, but only a small number of power stations are based on the more advanced supercritical steam.

The world record, set in May this year, was at a pressure of 23.5 megapascals (a measure of force per unit area), and temperatures up to 570 degrees Celsius.

It is the combination of pressure and temperature demonstrated at scale that makes this such a breakthrough for solar power.

Commercial solar thermal power plants around the world use subcritical steam, operating at similar temperatures but at lower pressure.

If these plants were able to move to supercritical steam, it would increase the efficiency and help to lower the cost of solar electricity.

The $9.7 million research program is supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and is part of a broader collaboration with Abengoa Solar, the largest supplier of solar thermal electricity in the world.

CSIRO and Abengoa Solar, with support from ARENA, are developing advanced solar storage to provide solar electricity at any time, day or night.

The breakthrough was made at the CSIRO Energy Centre, Newcastle, home to Australia’s low emission and renewable energy research.

The centre includes two solar thermal test plants featuring more than 600 mirrors (heliostats) directed at two towers housing solar receivers and turbines.

Although there is still work to be done before this technology is ready for commercialisation, ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht acknowledged the significant achievement, saying it demonstrates the importance of research and development.

‘This breakthrough brings solar thermal energy a step closer to cost competitiveness with fossil fuel generated power,’ Mr Fri

Previous articleMungo’s Crossword N021
Next articleFins Restaurant

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

3 COMMENTS

  1. For Gods sake don’t tell the anti-science/climate denialists, yet……………………
    They will only cut funding to it!!

  2. Thats great news..now all the workers who are employed in perfectly safe extraction industries can now be sacked and be given jobs helping tourists cuddle koalas and making lattes…

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Affordable myth

Patricia Warren, Brunswick Heads There is a ‘myth of affordable housing’ in Byron Shire. Well may councillors lament the lack of ‘affordable housing’ in Byron Shire but...

Midwife quits

Deb Walsh, Fernleigh It’s become untenable for me to continue working in hospitals. I have quit. I will be deregistered soon by my own choice. Working with...

Common courtesy

Anonymous, Byron Bay First of all, thank you to those customers who did the right thing and wore their masks in hospitality venues on the weekend. However,...

Poor Council drains

Kate Anderson, Mullumbimby In response to and support of Kerry Gray’s and Robin Gracie’s letters Echo 31 March). The McGoughans Lane blocked drains are the tip...