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Technology and R&D

Vast Solar seeks funding for 50 MW CSP, PV hybrid

The Sydney-based developer is seeking $75 million to help finance a 50 MW hybrid project, following a successful 1 MW pilot. Vast Solar is looking to deploy its innovative CSP technology, which uses sodium as a heat transfer fluid to capture concentrated solar energy that can then be stored and used on demand, on the utility-scale.

Australian scientists use hydrogen atoms to boost solar cell efficiency

Researchers want to better understand how hydrogen atoms may improve the performance of phosphorus-doped multicrystalline silicon (mc-Si) films for passivating contact solar cells.

Neometals commissions li-ion battery recycling pilot plant

Australian lithium developer Neometals has taken its lithium‐ion battery recycling technology to the floor at a pilot plant in Canada. SGS Canada has been contracted to construct and operate the pilot at its Lakefield facility, and handle both the front-end feed preparation and hydrometallurgical processing/refining stages.

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Disused zinc mine transforms into clean energy hub with compressed air storage

In an Australian first, Canada’s Hydrostor is delivering a 5 MW / 10 MWh compressed air energy storage facility, which will store excess solar and wind power at a closed underground mine in South Australia.

Super-grids vs prosumer states: storage may decide the battle

Indra Overland, head of the Center for Energy Research at the Norwegian Institute for International Affairs, explains how the world’s future energy landscape may include pan-regional super-grids. However, prosumer states seeking energy independence could also be in the mix. According to Overland, the two developments will go hand in hand and the balance between them will be determined by the competitiveness of storage technologies.

Deakin University breaks ground on 7.25 MW solar-powered microgrid

The first sod has been turned on a $30 million smart microgrid which is to power Deakin University’s Waurn Ponds Campus. The project, featuring a 7 MW solar farm and a 1 MW battery, is delivered in partnership with AusNet Services and its subsidiary Mondo with the goal to provide an integrated research and education platform, and contribute to the university’s sustainability goals.

ClearVue PV trials a solar portal to the future

Australian retail landlord, Vicinity Centres, has remodelled the northern entry of one of its shopping centres with an energy-generating glass atrium in a world-first commercial application of technology developed by Perth-based company ClearVue PV.

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A solar-powered chemical industry? It’s not what you think

Chemical manufacturing accounts for around 10% of global energy consumption and 7% of industrial greenhouse emissions. Researchers at RMIT University have developed a material that can capture 99% of light and directly apply it to power chemical reactions thereby slashing emissions and improving the efficiencies of current processes.

Long read: Bifacial testing sites multiply

Bifacial solar panel performance has become such a hot pursuit this year that there are now at least four competing field test sites ramping up in the United States, each matching a different set of trackers and panels. The four test projects include DNV GL, Soltec, NREL and Sandia, and initial data is expected by late 2019, once a year’s data has been collected.

MagniX powers forward with electric light commercial aircraft plans

Solar PV is boosting regional economies by providing cheaper electricity to off-grid or edge-of-grid communities and industries; soon it could power cheaper electric aviation services. In three years, Gold Coast company magniX expects to be selling a commercially available certified electric aircraft engine that will reduce the cost of flying light commercial aircraft by between 50% and 80% per operating hour.

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