ASX-listed heat-to-power technology company Enerji Limited has announced it has signed a deal to co-develop a ground-breaking hybrid solar thermal project in outback Western Australia, that will use concentrated solar thermal energy as well as waste heat from a fossil fuel plant to generate and store power.
In an ASX announcement released on Tuesday, Enerji said it had entered a binding agreement with Carbon Reduction Ventures (CRV) and Morawa Solar Thermal (MST) to develop the $15 million project – a project supported by the WA State Government through the Low Emissions Energy Development (LEED) Fund.
According to the ASX release, the project is expected to generated 5500MWh annually, with a heat storage capacity of 10MWh.
The project first came onto our radar in mid-2012, when the two companies originally behind it – Sydney company Solastor and Perth-based CRV – were awarded a $3.7 million LEED grant towards the “development and delivery” of a concentrated solar thermal power station in the mid west “SuperTown” of Morawa.
At the time, local Member for the Agricultural Region, Mia Davies welcomed funding for the North Midlands Solar Thermal Project as a “first” for the state, that would improve power reliability in the Morawa community by reducing the reliance on the grid.
Enerji’s release notes that the project will still be based around the Australian-made Solastor System, which uses first-of-a-kind “toroidal” heliostats to collect and store solar power at the point of collection.
The energy in the Solastor tower – which is stored in high temperature graphite – can be recovered at any time by feeding a fluid into the receiver, where embedded heat exchangers extract the energy (usually as steam) and drive a steam turbine to produce electricity.
According to the Solastor website, the technology has been successfully demonstrated in Australia, with plans underway for several large-scale projects in Cyprus, Chile, Oman and Western Australia.
The WA Morawa project will now also use Enerji’s Accretive Thermal Energy Node (ATEN) technology, which aggregates heat accretively from a diversity of sources and simultaneously conditions it for use in a single heat-to-power system.
At the launch of its ATEN technology in November 2014, Enerji claimed it would “disrupt and increase the heat-to-power market, with dramatic lowering of complexity, time and costs.”
The project will also include an Opcon Powerbox: Swedish-made cogeneration technology that transforms waste heat into electricity – in particular targeting industrial, mining and power plants – for which Enerji has exclusive sales and distribution rights in Australia.
Enerji’s ASX release noted that CRV was the project proponent, while MST was the project vehicle, with a Financial Assistance Agreement for LEED funds of $3,775,000, or 25 per cent of the $15.1 million project.
Interestingly, however, the most recent update on the project from CRV’s website, dated July 2013, says it has “regrettably halted any further activity on the Morawa based project until further notice,” following advice regarding the commitment of funds for plans related to further technical and financial feasibility by the Shire of Morawa.
Enerji’s most advanced project is in the Pilbara; a project similar to its Carnarvon pilot plant in WA, but with the key addition of supplementary heat from a solar thermal technology, as well as improvements identified during the Carnarvon pilot plant trials.
Late last year Enerji revealed that it was producing electricity from waste heat at full system capacity in Carnarvon, in s trial conducted in conjunction with Horizon Power.