Renewables

Hopes on Australian solar technology for shifting from oil

Published

May 7, 2015

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Published:

May 7, 2015

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Australian scientists have designed and installed solar energy technology in Cyprus to help the island nation shift away from fossil fuels and also tackle its chronic water shortages, The Guardian’s portal said.

A team from the Csiro, Australia’s national science agency, took five weeks to construct a solar thermal field containing 50 heliostats – large mirrors that reflect the power of the sun – at Pentakomo, located in the south of the country. The Csiro won an international tender to provide its technology to Cyprus for a trial that could lead to broad solar take-up in the country and elsewhere.

“The question about solar is always about storage at night-time,” said Wes Stein, solar research leader at Csiro. “This liquid is cheaper and more efficient than batteries, such as those made by Elon Musk. We can generate steam for electricity on a cloudy day. “ The project provided USD 500,000 (EUR 439,000) for the Csiro but Stein said the returns could be in the “tens of millions” if other countries licensed the technology for larger scale developments.

Stein added Australia could theoretically provide all of its electricity via solar energy in this way. It would require a site measuring 50 by 50 kilometers, a third of it taken up by mirrors.

Heat generated by the field could bring a two-litre kettle to the boil in less than five seconds, Csiro’s website said. The hot fluid is subsequently used to drive a turbine for generating electricity and, in research, powering a desalination plant. This is a suitable size for the Cyprus Institute to conduct research, with expansion planned.

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