CSIRO solar towers featured in Climate Spectator

Newcastle’s two solar ‘power towers’ have been featured in Climate Spectator. In the same week as CSIRO’s Solar Cooling project was featured (see blog post), an article has been published in which Robbie McNaughton, the engineering manager here at the National Solar Energy Centre, answers questions about our high-temperature solar thermal facilities. He explains the basics of our SolarGas research (running in Solar Field 1) and our Brayton Cycle project (in Solar Field 2) and discusses how the technologies will be used.

From the article:

A new solar array at the CSIRO’s energy research centre in Newcastle is the world’s largest demonstration of a new technology that uses concentrated solar energy to heat air rather than liquids. In many ways it works the same as a gas turbine: compressed air is heated, and then the air expands through a turbine to create power. “We’ve just eliminated the combustor,” said Robbie McNaughton, the engineering manager at the National Solar Energy Center, during a visit to the centre last week.

The technology is known as a solar air turbine, but its official name is a Solar Brayton Cycle. And because it needs no water, it is uniquely suited to Australian conditions, where the best solar radiation often coincides with the least amount of available water. And because it lacks the complexity of rival technologies, and can operate as a modular, stand-alone system, it is also suitable for remote locations such as mine sites.

A computer illustration of Solar Field 1 (at right), and Solar Field 2 (left).

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