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Should we Use Solar Technology to Make Coal Generation More Cost Effective?

Should we Use Solar Technology to Make Coal Generation More Cost Effective?Novatec’s solar boiler has commenced operations at the Liddell Power Station in New South Wales, Australia.

The solar boiler acts as a fuel-saver by feeding steam into the existing coal fired power station and reducing the coal required to operate the facility. The Liddell Power Station is owned by Australian utility, Macquarie Generation.

The 9.3MWth solar boiler is based on Novatec Solar’s Fresnel collector technology and has a total mirror surface of 18,500m² – the size of almost three football fields. The replacement of coal by the solar boiler will cut greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 5,000 tonnes per annum..

“The integration of our Fresnel technology into existing coal and gas fired power stations helps our customers to increase plant output while lowering emissions,” said Nicholas James, Chairman of the Shareholder Committee of Novatec Solar.

More than 4,500 solar field components were manufactured at Novatec Solar’s local production facility and businesses from the Hunter Valley area were involved in the construction of the solar boiler.

The project received $9.25 million from the NSW Government Climate Change Fund Renewable Energy Development Program, established to support emerging renewable energy technologies.

About Novatec’s Fresnel Collector Technology

Novatec Solar’s Fresnel technology uses parallel rows of flat mirrors to focus direct solar irradiation onto a linear receiver. Water that is conveyed through the absorber tubes is directly evaporated or superheated in a temperature range from 270°C to above 500°C depending on the steam application. The cleaning of the mirrors is done by cleaning robots using very less water to save valuable water in this arid region.

About Novatec Solar

Novatec Solar ( is a leading technology provider and original equipment manufacturer of efficient, low cost direct solar steam generators (solar boilers) based on Fresnel collector technology. Novatec Solar’s proven solar field technology generates steam with temperatures up to 500°C. Novatec Solar undertakes manufacture, supply, turnkey delivery and operation of solar boilers for a range of applications including power stations, desalination plants and industrial processes. Transfield Holdings ( has been the majority shareholder in Novatec Solar since 2007. In March 2011, ABB acquired a 35 percent shareholding in Novatec Solar ( The founders of Novatec Solar Martin Selig, Dr.-Ing. Max Mertins and Gerhard Hautmann are holding a minority share.

About Macquarie Generation

Macquarie Generation ( is a NSW State Owned Corporation established in 1996. Their core business is the production and wholesale of low cost electricity to the National Electricity Market. Macquarie Generation owns and operates Liddell Power Station and Bayswater Power Station between Singleton and Muswellbrook in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW, with a corporate office in Newcastle.

Each year the Corporation produces approximately 15% of the electricity needed by people in Eastern Australia from South Australia to Northern Queensland. This is the equivalent of 40% of the electricity needed by the people of New South Wales, making Macquarie Generation Australia’s largest electricity generator.

Macquarie Generation has a history of investment in renewable and alternative energy technologies including biomass co-firing, technology upgrades and mini-hydro schemes.

Should we Use Solar Technology to Make Coal Generation More Cost Effective? Tags: solar collector

ST Staff Writers
ST Staff Writers
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