What Sets Us Apart

New Generation Modular CSP with Smart Thermal Storage and Sodium HTF 

Vast Solar is an Australian company that has developed and demonstrated world-leading solar thermal storage technology at our CSP Pilot Site in central NSW. Our story is an Australian innovation story and our future is international.

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.

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. 

In the marketplace, benefits of Vast Solar’s world-leading CSP technology include:-

  • 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 50-500MW
    • 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.

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

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

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.

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.

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.

Installed CSP generation capacity is forecast to increase from 5GW in 2015 to 633GW in 2050, representing investment of some US$1,900 billion (IRENA). 

  • In 2017, global international investment in renewables exceeded US$200 billion  for the eighth year in a row (UNEP & Bloomberg New Energy Finance (2018)).
  • In 2017, global investment in renewable energy reached $279.8 billion pa, taking cumulative investment since 2010 to $2.2 trillion, and since 2004 to $2.9 trillion.

  • In 2017, sharp increases in renewable energy investment in Australia, of 147% to $8.5 billion, in Mexico, of 810% to $6 billion, and in Sweden, of 127% to $3.7 billion and in the United Arab Emirates 29-fold increase to $2.2 billion.
  • China led international renewable energy investment in 2017, investing $126.6 billion, its highest figure ever and 45% of the global total.

  • CSP: China is investing deeply in domestic CSP projects and is a world leader and partner in building CSP plants internationally.
    • In 2018 – 3 CSP projects with 200MW capacity were completed
    • In 2019 – a further 6 projects with capacity of 350MW will be under cosntruction
  • And in Australia, States and Territories are taking action to expand renewable generation.
    • August 2018: The Queensland Government announces ‘CleanCo’ –  Queensland’s new renewable energy focused and public owned electricity generator. CleanCo will support new jobs and the renewable energy industry, starting with 1000MW of new renewables, all part of meeting a policy objective of 50 per cent renewable energy generation capacity by 2030 under the Queensland Renewable Energy Target (QRET).

Renewable Energy

In 2017 the world added more solar capacity than coal, gas, and nuclear plants combined

Around the world communities, consumers and power companies are switching onto and into clever new mixed energy systems and hybrid energy sources in ways we may have only dreamt about 30 years ago.

Renewable energy is affordable

The Australian and international marketplace has dramatically changed. Wind and Solar Photovoltaic have proven their cost effectiveness for bulk renewable energy. The viability of building new coal powered power stations is recognised to be economically untenable.

Vast Solar CSP offers premium value – as it can deliver premium 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.

Vast Solar utility scale CSP plants are highly competitive with solar PV and wind generation with battery storage. Our technology has a light footprint on the landscape and we offer premium renewable energy – reliable, controllable, stored power.

Around the world solar PV and wind farms have grown and flourished.

  • According to UNEP and Bloomberg (Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2018) solar power rose to record prominence in 2017, as the world installed 98 gigawatts of new solar power projects, more than the net additions of coal, gas and nuclear plants put together.
  • The above solar build-out represented 38% of all the net new generating capacity added (renewable, fossil fuel and nuclear) for 2017.
  • China accounted for just over half of new global solar capacity in 2017, and it accounted for 45% of total worldwide renewables expenditure in 2017.

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 key markets such as China, Africa, Chile and India.

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.

At Vast Solar we have affordable thermal ‘storage’ in our technology bank

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.

With our CSP Pilot Plant commissioned and plant test data and analysis to hand, we believe Vast Solar technology is the most prospective thermal storage technology in the world.