The facility is situated at the vehicle factory of Precision Components in Edinburgh Parks. It has 25 heliostats and a 16-metre -tall concentrated solar PV receiver.
Heliostats centre sunlight onto a central receiving tower and depending on the kind of receiver unit, either heat or a variety of fluids can be utilised to produce steam in order to power turbines and generate electricity. The sunlight can also be changed into electricity directly by making use of a high-efficiency cell receiver, such as the ones used to power satellites in space.
This future generation solar power technology will be essential in the development of renewable power sources locally and internationally. This innovation aims to deliver more stable energy production especially when every innovation in renewable energy systems is important.
Peter Murphy, the Lead Researcher and Industry Professor at UniSA’s Future Industries Institute, said that the design challenges in creating a heliostat surface that could endure all the environment can deliver are nearly the same as some of the challenges in designing the car mirror.
Professor Murphy stated, “Heliostats need to withstand heat, cold, rain, UV light exposure, and abrasion by sand, often in harsh, arid environments. To be really effective, they must have a lifetime of 25 to 30 years and that presents a huge set of challenges at a macro and nanoscale.”
South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill mentioned that the new facility and the research and development initiatives being done in partnership with UniSa proves that South Australia leads in the national transformation for technologies developed for the renewable energy sector.
He said, “Working in partnership with Precision Components, a company previously servicing the automotive industry, the two companies demonstrate a successful diversification from a manufacturing skill base into other industry sectors. There is huge potential for growth in South Australia’s renewables sector. Heliostat has an impressive plan to develop a $1.6 million new tracking system that would create 33 construction and more than 90 ongoing jobs.”
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