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Increasing Solar Thermal Efficiencies by integration with Combustion and Geothermal Technologies

Increasing Solar Thermal Efficiencies by integration with Combustion and Geothermal Technologies

Australian Geothermal energy developer,Petratherm recently announced that its GeoSolar project has been offered a $794,268 grant under the Premier’s Science and Research Fund (PSRF).

 The innovative project aims to reduce the cost of solar thermal technology by up to 40% through the integration of solar thermal, geothermal and combustion technologies.

The GeoSolar project is an initiative being pursued in conjunction with the University of Adelaide’s highly regarded Centre for Energy Technology and involves a team led by Professor Gus Nathan.

Premier Mike Rann recently announced in a government news release that the grant offer is one of

“five important research projects that are an investment in South Australia’s future”.

Petratherm has established GeoSolar Limited, a 100% owned subsidiary company of Petratherm Limited, and has entered into an exclusive agreement with the University of Adelaide to develop the integrated technology.

The project aims to design and develop an integrated solar, geothermal and combustion system to achieve high efficiency base load power generation.

The key innovation of the project is the use of an integrated boiler that exploits all of the various energy sources in a manner that reduces capital costs to achieve a critical breakthrough in cost and efficiency in solar thermal technology.

The GeoSolar technology, when developed, has been assessed as having the potential to:

  • reduce capital cost of Concentrated Solar Thermal generation by 40% per MWh over a 30 year project life compared to equivalent state of the art systems,
  • reduce CO2 emissions from the boiler relative to existing natural gas combustion technologies by 46% and approximately 80% relative to coal based generation

The grant offer by the PSRF is an exciting first step in the funding arrangements for the three year research and development program required for the GeoSolar project. The PSRF grant is conditional on achieving satisfactory funding to cover the three year work program.

Over the coming months Petratherm Limited (through GeoSolar Limited) and the University of Adelaide plan to secure additional Commonwealth and State Government grant funding, including but not limited to, up to $5 million grants available under the Australian Solar Institute Program and R & D funding from Renewables SA.

The GeoSolar technology, when developed, is expected to have considerable local, national and international market potential. The local market in SA provides an ideal opportunity to fully test the technology at pilot and demonstration scale in the longer term.

About PetrathermPetratherm Ltd is an Adelaide based leading explorer and developer of geothermal energy and was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2004 (ASX Code: PTR).  We are actively involved in projects in Australia and overseas, being the first geothermal company to formally develop conventional, EGS and direct heat energy (supplying hot water) projects in Spain.  Most recently, Petratherm entered into a landmark, exclusive agreement with four key Chinese geological/geothermal institutions to undertake a co-operative assessment to identify prospective geothermal projects in China.

Future updates on the GeoSolar project will provide further detail on the integrated technology, planned work program, market potential and broad economics.

Increasing Solar Thermal Efficiencies by integration with Combustion and Geothermal Technologies
Increasing Solar Thermal Efficiencies by integration with Combustion and Geothermal Technologies

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