Vast scores EDF support for concentrated solar power technology


Vast Renewables has announced it will partner with EDF Renewables to deliver multiple long-duration storage and green fuels projects in Australia featuring Vast’s concentrated solar power (CSP) technology that uses mirrors to concentrate and capture heat from the sun in solar receivers before generating heat and dispatchable power during the day or night.

The Sydney-based developer said its CSP 3.0 technology allows plants to be configured with four to 16 hours of storage and generators of up to 500 MW, providing clean, dispatchable renewable energy for utility-scale power, industrial heat and clean fuel production applications.

Vast founder Johnny Kahlbetzer said EDF’s capital commitment, which remains subject to a number of conditions including Vast completing a NASDAQ listing through a merger with a United States special purpose acquisitions company, is a “fantastic” validation of the company’s 14-year journey.

Vast Chief Executive Officer Craig Wood said the partnership will bring together Vast’s CSP 3.0 technology and EDF’s track record of developing, designing, delivering and operating clean energy projects.

“As one of the largest energy utilities in the world, EDF operates gigawatts of renewable projects and has world-leading expertise in the use of sodium as a heat transfer fluid,” he said. “We look forward to working with EDF Australia to deliver long-duration storage and green fuels projects.”

Vast’s proprietary CSP technology relies on mirrors to concentrate and capture heat from the sun in solar receivers. The heat is then transferred via liquid sodium and stored in molten salt. The stored energy can then be used to heat water to create steam to drive a turbine and produce electricity, or the heat can also be used directly to decarbonise some industrial processes.

The technology is on show at Jemalong in regional New South Wales where a 1 MW pilot plant, which was constructed adjacent to a 50 MW solar PV project, has been delivering electricity to the grid since early 2018.

Vast is also developing a 30 MW plant with eight hours of full-load storage near Port Augusta in South Australia.

The VS1 project seeks to demonstrate the technical and operational performance of Vast’s modular CSP technology at utility scale. The grid-connected facility is expected to become operational in 2025. Vast will also build a 7,300-tonnes-a-year green methanol plant next door that will be partially powered by the 30 MW plant.

EDF Australia Country Manager James Katsikas said the partnership with Vast aligns with the company’s plan to deliver a portfolio of clean energy projects across Australia and said the group is uniquely placed to accelerate the commercialisation of cutting-edge technologies like Vast’s CSP 3.0 technology.

“With our knowledge and experience, we are well-equipped to successfully execute multiple projects within the clean-energy value chain,” he said.

“We look forward to collaborating with Vast and believe this arrangement has the potential to accelerate the nation’s transition towards clean energy production and consumption.”

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