The demonstration plant will collect heat from the sun in curved mirrored troughs, producing electricity and heat for on-site use, using the new heat engine technology.
The GRANEX project has been funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA).
Researcher Professor Behdad Moghtaderi says the technology will have significant benefits for remote mining and industrial sites in rural communities.
“It can be used in remote communities, aboriginal communities, because all we need is a set of solar arrays,” he said.
“You really don’t need diesel fuel, or anything like that.
“The problem is not really the infrastructure as such.
“It’s more of a cost and logistical problems associated with transporting diesel fuel.”
The Wallsend swimming centre could save hundreds of dollars on its its annual power bills because of the project.
Professor Moghtaderi says the technology means electricity can be produced with zero carbon emissions from a range of different sources.
“Any type of low-grade heat source and also renewable energy sources, in the example that you have for a swimming pool today, essentially we are using solar energy as heat input,” he said.
“But, with the same token, you can use geothermal energy, biomass energy or waste heat going out of the stack of power plants and things like that.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht today joined Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Paterson MP Bob Baldwin at the official launch.
“The $1.7 million project integrates solar thermal and GRANEX heat engine technology and is supported by $812,000 funding from ARENA,” he said.
“The 200 kilowatt solar field, located at the Wallsend swimming complex, will generate 30 kilowatts of electrical output and 150 kilowatts of heat for the swimming pool.
Mr Frischknecht says the demonstration project is the first of its kind and will produce thousands of hours of valuable operating data.
“It demonstrates the potential of small-scale solar thermal systems in providing cost effective energy options, particularly for off-grid areas,” he said.
“ARENA recognises the importance of supporting renewable energy projects that are innovative, economically geared and increasingly market-driven – such as those that could deliver low cost power to remote mining communities.
“It is vital that Australia continues to deliver world-leading and cost-effective renewable technology solutions that keep up with economic growth.”
Source Article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-04-15/solar-plant-to-be-unveiled-at-wallsend-swimming-pool/5390322