The Turnbull Government has launched a $200 million CSIRO Innovation Fund which will commercialise early stage innovations from CSIRO, universities and other publicly-funded research bodies.
This joint government-private sector fund will help Australia’s home grown innovations become successful businesses, and in doing so create jobs and boost Australia’s productivity and exports.
The government is investing a total of $70 million into the fund over 10 years alongside $30 million of CSIRO revenue from CSIRO’s WLAN Programme, which has delivered Wi-Fi to the world. The remaining $100 million will be sourced from wholesale private sector investment
The CSIRO Innovation Fund will support co-investment in new spin-out and start-up companies, products and services created by Australian research institutions and their SME partners.
CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said he was proud of CSIRO Energy’s solar thermal technology team and their innovative science for the contribution it is making to support Australia’s mitigation RD.
‘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,’ Marshall said.
‘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.’
Solar thermal technology uses a field of computer-controlled mirrors (heliostats) that accurately reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a receiver on top of a tower.
The concentrated sunlight may then be used to heat and store hot molten salt, which can generate superheated steam to drive a turbine for electricity generation.
An advantage of this system is the very low cost of storing thermal energy, giving CST technology great potential for medium to large-scale solar power, even when the sun isn’t shining.
A heliostat field can represent up to 40 per cent of the total plant cost so low cost, high precision heliostats are a crucial component.