New Hybrid Solar Power and Thermal Heat Technology receives $3.2m grant from Australia Solar Institute
Solar thermal heat and solar electricity presdent enormous clean energy opportunities for the commercial sector. Economies of scale and lack of suitable large scale industrial clean energy solutions have prevented wide scale adoption by companies not only in Austrlia, but also world wide.
Industrial rooftop solar solutions company Chromasun today announced that it has partnered with a number of Australian research institutions to win a $3.2 million (USD) applied research grant from the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) to deliver both high-temperature solar thermal heat and solar electricity.
The ASI awarded a $3,235,710 grant to support applied research by Chromasun, the Australian National University (ANU), the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). The total project involves $9.4 million in research work. The result will be a new hybrid Chromasun MCT module that will simultaneously deliver both 150º C heat and solar electricity.
Currently, solar hybrid devices can only deliver low-grade heat and relatively poor photovoltaic (PV) efficiency because the cells must work well beyond their most efficient operating temperature. Heat at 150º C offers more cost-effective solar cooling and industrial process heat. The MCT will use spectral splitting to thermally decouple the PV cells from the 150º C circulating fluid, enabling it to capture high value heat while at the same time keeping the PV cells cool and efficient.
The Chromasun MCT is a lightweight, low-profile solar collector that concentrates sunlight 2500% using highly reflective aluminium mirrors. The mirrors track in unison to follow the sun but are enclosed within a sealed canopy to protect against the elements. The Chromasun MCT has no external moving parts and is mounted on the same racking systems as conventional flat-panel solar thermal collectors.
Chromasun is presently beta testing a thermal version of its MCT collector in a number of project sites globally, and current performance indicates it will compete favourably with retail natural gas and electricity prices in many markets.