Scientists from the Australian National University in Canberra have just set a new world record for the efficiency of a solar thermal receiver, increasing it from 93.6% to 97%.
The team designed and built the new receiver for the university’s solar concentrator dish – one of the largest in the world at 500 square metres – and it has halved losses while converting 3.4% more sunlight into steam.
Concentrating solar thermal systems use reflectors to focus sunlight and generate steam that can be used to drive turbines in conventional power stations.
They can also be paired with heat storage systems to supply power on demand and have a significant cost advantage over traditional solar energy from photovoltaic panels that has been stored in batteries.
According to the scientists the new receiver would allow the dish to power a street of houses.
And this efficiency progression could help to lower carbon emissions by lowering the price of base-load electricity from renewable energy.
To learn more about this innovation and solar thermal energy in general, check out the video below.