New Generation Modular CSP with Smart Thermal Storage and Sodium HTF 

Vast Solar’s story is an Australian innovation story and our future is international.

We’re an Australian company that has developed and demonstrated world-leading solar thermal storage technology at our CSP Pilot Site in central NSW. The market for renewable power technologies has exploded over the last ten years and this has injected high levels of intermittent generation – wind and photovoltaic – into power networks but the penetration of ‘bulk’ wind and PV is rapidly hitting limits.

Utility-scale storage is a key enabler of continued decarbonisation and will become even more important as the retirement of aging coal fleets accelerates in coming years. Concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) will provide this critical storage, alongside large-scale chemical batteries for short-duration supply and pumped hydro in limited geographies.

“We have the technology to make a huge difference at a time when the energy sector is going through enormous change”.

We’re proud to be growing the role that CSP and thermal storage will play to decarbonise the electrical sector and excited our technology can add value to network operators and renewable energy generators so that together, we can speed the transition to sustainable electrification and power supply.

Vast Solar’s unique modular solar array delivers significant optical and thermal efficiencies, greater than those of central tower CSP receivers, and our system of distributed control over receivers generate performance benefits to capture more energy and deliver greater overall power cycle efficiency.

These and other features set us apart at a time when there are significant business opportunities for CSP and thermal storage. 

  • Low cost modular array
    • Light weight => fewer and inexpensive materials and easier to construct
    • Cheaper manufacturing through prefabrication, auto industry techniques and robotic assembly
  • High efficiency
    • Heliostat configuration maximises optical efficiency, particularly in dusty environments
    • Distributed control over receivers enables capture of more energy and higher operating temperatures => greater power cycle efficiency
  • Lower risk
    • Better controllability and management of solar transients lowers operational and downtime risk
    • Multiple small towers => significant improvements in safety, construction, operation and risk since the receiver is no longer a single point of failure
    • Receiver is always on => no daily pre-warming or risky start-up cycle
  • Simplified design delivers shorter construction time saving vs. central tower technology
    • 18-24 months to build a Vast Solar plant
    • Modularity enables staged construction and commissioning
  • Lower operating costs
    • Fully automated process is significantly easier to operate
    • Receiver maintenance simpler and does not require plant shutdown
  • Configurable
    • Scalable modular arrays eliminate turbine sizing limitation of central tower plants => plants can be configured from 20-500MW
    • Capacity factor determined by choice of storage duration of 4-16 hours
    • Modular arrays allow siting flexibility (the site doesn’t need to be perfectly flat) and reduce approval complexity (lower environmental impact)
Strategically, Vast Solar CSP technology has the power to:

  • Enable further decarbonisation of the power sector
  • Deliver utility scale thermal battery capacity – that is affordable, scalable and environmentally benign
  • Deliver self-firming renewable energy generation and storage
  • Provide support and stability to power networks in transition
  • Deliver power network and systems support to address intermittency challenges associated with ‘bulk’ amounts of intermittent generation, PV and wind.
Vast Solar CSP technology adds value to energy systems in transition in more ways than one.  

  • Helps maintain the value and performance of established power networks
  • When located at end of grid, CSP plants can provide valuable grid augmentation and defer or offset requirements for further grid investment
  • Offer energy investors and operators an important avenue to improve grid stability and to build the resilience of their power generation, transmission and distribution systems
  • Provide power and ancillary services to materially enhance grid stability

While being good for Communities, Households, Business and Industry.

  • Vast Solar’s CSP technology enables renewable energy to be generated and distributed 24 hours a day so that households, business and industry can access renewable energy at peak periods or when the sun has gone down or the wind doesn’t blow.
  • Our CSP plants are well suited for remote and rural locations and their construction and operation provide sustainable employment and economic growth in regional areas.

Power & Energy

Fossil fuels are fossils.  Clean energy is the future. 

Around the world investors, governments and individuals are divesting from fossil fuel assets and looking to invest in the technologies that will deliver a clean energy future.

The world is electrifying and electricity is decarbonising.

Forecasts predict that by 2050 electricity will be the world’s largest, direct end of use energy source and that renewable sources will account for 80% of electricity production.

Vast Solar CSP technology will play its part in that future.

Decarbonisation is a game changer.

The game has changed for people and the planet.  Rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy are required to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. Renewables and energy efficiency are critical. The world needs to repower. We need to get away from burning fossil fuels and thermal storage technology will be a part of that mix.

CSP is already deployed at scale overseas, and the International Energy Agency has forecast it will increase ten-fold to 73GW globally by 2030.

Renewable Energy

Around the world, consumers and power companies are switching onto and into new mixed energy systems and hybrid energy sources. 

Established PV and wind technologies have led the way to help decarbonise the electricity sector. CSP with utility-scale storage will further enable continued decarbonisation of the energy sector and help drive sustainable electrification in Australia and key global markets.

Vast Solar CSP offers premium value – as it can deliver renewable energy during the evening or morning peak and is ideally positioned to reap value from initiatives such as time of day pricing when such market mechanisms come into effect. Our technology has a light footprint on the landscape and we offer premium renewable energy – reliable, controllable, stored power.

Storage

Big solar with affordable storage is beautiful.

Vast Solar CSP is part of the ‘big solar’ family that includes monolithic CSP technologies and diverse photovoltaic technologies, thin and thick film, that are now mature in terms of efficiency gains and scope for further cost improvements to drive down prices.

Vast Solar’s CSP design is light weight and cost effective. As a new technology we also possess exciting potential to realise further manufacturing and other economies of scale as our CSP plants are scaled.

The great challenge for big solar is to access large scale, affordable storage. Vast Solar’s technology is a thermal battery and unlike chemical batteries our technology is scalable not stackable. The materials that we use are environmentally benign and do not entail the potential environmental and other supply chain issues that battery technologies that rely upon lithium and/or cobalt may entail as demand for these precious metals grows.

Vast Solar is solving a big problem. The world needs to repower to get away from burning fossil fuels and thermal storage technology will be a part of that mix.