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Australia and Germany strengthen solar research ties

The potential of solar power as a baseload energy source received a boost when the Australian Solar Institute (ASI) announced a research and development partnership with leading European solar research body, Deutches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) to develop concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies.

In a media statement, the ASI highted the benefits of this new partnership which will provide Australian researchers with the opportunity to investigate cost and efficiency improvements in CSP alongside the other leaders in the field.

“By capitalising on the knowledge leadership in both Germany and Australia in solar research, we anticipate the joint R&D will produce exciting results in terms of increased efficiency and lowered costs to produce energy from the sun. We look forward to this technology progressing to commercialisation over time,” ASI executive girector Mark Twidell said.

The agreement fosters cooperation in solar research and development between Australian and German researchers, including:
• collaboration on CSP development focused on research gaps necessary to overcome barriers to uptake such as cost and efficiency
• provision of peer review expertise
• joint R&D projects between DLR and Australian research bodies supported by ASI, and
• support for solar skills development and education in Australia and Germany.

The ASI and DLR have already agreed a number of priority activities for immediate commencement, including high temperature CSP modelling and high temperature receiver performance and analysis. Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) will initially lead the scoping of Australia’s involvement in these areas, with the ASI seeking to broaden Australia’s involvement in the near future.

"Australia’s commitment to a climate-friendly energy supply, its excellent research infrastructure and, of course, its high levels of solar radiation are an excellent basis for us to work together on reducing the cost of solar power using technology developed by DLR," said Prof. Ulrich Wagner who is looking forward to the Cooperation. The DLR has been investigating more than 30 years as one of the largest research teams worldwide in the field of concentrating solar power technology.”

The ASI has already developed a strong partnership with the German solar industry through a MoU with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute, which focuses on solar photovoltaic technologies. 

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