CSIRO Roadmap could be key for renewable energy

Wednesday, 29 March, 2023

CSIRO Roadmap could be key for renewable energy

CSIRO’s Energy Storage Roadmap has been supported by The Australian Solar Thermal Energy Association (AUSTELA), outlining the significant role that concentrating solar thermal power (CSP or CST) can play in supplying industrial heat and long-duration storage.

Keith Lovegrove, AUSTELA spokesman, said the CSIRO roadmap makes it clear that CSP technologies must play an important role in the grid and decarbonisation.

“The CSIRO Roadmap highlights the role of CSP across multiple energy use sectors in the Australian economy, including power generation, transport and manufacturing. It reveals how CSP will deliver heat to industrial processes, provide heat and power for renewable fuel production and provide long-duration energy storage to our grid leading up to 2050,” Lovegrove said.

CSP uses mirrors to concentrate and capture the sun’s energy, which is stored as heat in molten salt tanks that can deliver electricity or heat for up to 15 hours or more as needed. With this process, power can be generated all night and used to power thermal industrial processes 24/7.

Though batteries are a well-established technology for storing renewable power for short-term use, substantial amounts of long-duration storage are needed as the electricity grid transforms towards 100% renewable.

Lovegrove said the role of battery storage is well recognised, but CSP is a lower-cost alternative for medium- to long-duration energy storage. CSP also offers grid stability services when deployed in electricity networks, removing the need for synchronous condensers. CSP can also be a zero-emissions alternative to gas in powering industrial processes.

The roadmap demonstrates how much needs to be done to reach 2050 emissions targets and includes recommendations for incentivisation or medium- and long-duration storage.

“The CSIRO has recognised two difficult aspects of the decarbonisation challenge — long-duration storage and industrial process heat — and concluded that CSP is a cost-effective way to address those challenges.”

Image credit: iStock.com/AerialPerspective Works

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