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Australian Government | Australian Renewable Energy Agency | ARENA
25 October 2022

Hot insights from ARENA’s thermal projects

Welcome to ARENA Insights - a newsletter dedicated to sharing knowledge and insights directly with industry.


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ASTRI’s Annual Insights

The Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI) recently published its annual report. ASTRI is a consortium of leading Australian research institutions collaborating primarily on ‘over the horizon’ concentrating solar thermal (CST) research projects.

The report provides an international perspective on solar thermal technologies, before detailing ASTRI’s technology development activities from 2021, including sodium receiver design and development, thermal energy storage integration and evaluation, and heliostats.

It states that "well over 80% of Australia’s current energy requirements use thermal energy processes" and notes that new thermal technologies can support electrification and play a key role in the transition to a 100% renewable energy system.

Image: ASTRI's Annual Report cover

Read ASTRI's Annual Report 


Cool solution for renewable refrigeration

Glaciem has developed an innovative Phase Change Material (PCM) technology involving thermal energy storage (TES) integrated with renewable energy. This technology reduces emissions from industrial cooling and refrigeration processes.

Solar PV arrays have been installed and integrated with TES units at three different sites, including Pernod Ricard Winery (SA), Montague Apple Orchard (VIC) and the Reef HQ Aquarium (QLD).

Glaciem has produced a white paper to describe the use of TES for renewable energy uptake in wineries and a case study to share information on the advanced control and forecasting algorithm  implemented at the Pernod Ricard Winery.

Virtual tours are also available to see how the Glaciem Systems have been integrated within the facilities.

Image: Thermal Energy Storage Units

Read Glacium's white paper on the application of TES in wineries 

Read Glacium's case study on the application of AFCA in wineries 


Geothermal heat pumps in Western Sydney

Climate Kic undertook a three-year commercial-scale study to demonstrate the application of Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) for residential heating and cooling in new residential developments.

The Residential Heat Pump Study Final Report highlights the benefits observed with the integration of GSHP in a master-planned residential community in Western Sydney.

The study provides a case for wider adoption of GSHP as an option to harness renewable energy to meet the growing demand for residential heating and cooling.

Image: GSHP installed in a residential unit.

Read Climate Kic's Final Report 


ARENA Insights Thermal Energy Storage Summit

On 28 July 2022, ARENA hosted an Insights Summit on Thermal Energy Storage to facilitate discussion around challenges and opportunities of TES. The Summit brought together technology providers and thermal energy users with strict decarbonisation goals.

The participants agreed on the key role of TES in supporting the decarbonisation of industrial heat processes. They provided insights on the technologies available in the market, the challenges related to the broad adoption of TES and potential ways to overcome these challenges and support the industry.

Video: Recording of ARENA Insights - Thermal Energy Storage Summit

Check out ARENA Insights TES Summit presentations and recording 

Australian Government and Energy Innovation Toolkit logos
Australian Government and Energy Innovation Toolkit logos

What’s next

Stay tuned for upcoming reports from several of ARENA’s thermal energy projects.

The Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre Integrated Energy System project will provide insights on running an all-electric aquatic centre completely powered by renewable energy.

The Hardwick Meat Works demonstration project will soon deliver lessons learnt on the integration of a heat pump and thermal energy storage in a meat processing facility.


New to the Knowledge Bank

Solar Thermal

  • RayGen’s Solar Power Plant Demonstration Project involves an innovative solar thermal and thermal energy storage system to achieve dispatchable renewable power. This report discusses the benefits and challenges of engaging local resources in order to maximise benefits to the community and the project. Read the Lessons Learnt report here.

Hybrid Systems

  • The Solar Energy Transformation Program (SETuP) is Australia’s largest isolated off-grid solar program in remote communities. It involves the integration of innovative solar, storage and control systems into the existing diesel power stations at 26 remote communities in the Northern Territory.  Read the program’s third performance report here.

Pumped Hydro Energy Storage

  • The latest report from the Genex Kidston Pumped Hydro Energy Storage project discusses the challenges of securing power during construction, transmission line works and procurement processes. Read the report here.

Distributed Energy Resources

Solar PV Research and Development

  • UNSW and private partner, Open Instruments, has successfully designed and built an ultra-sensitive Photothermal Deflection Spectrometer prototype that is up to 1000 times more sensitive than comparable systems. This will help PV labs and manufacturers to address efficiency-limiting defects in solar cell materials.  Read the project’s lessons learnt report here.
  • An ANU project has investigated techniques and tools to identify the most important loss and degradation mechanisms in industrial silicon photovoltaic technology. This has resulted in several exciting new methods for wafer, cell and module inspection, with at least one expected to proceed to commercialisation.  Read the project’s final report here.

Visit ARENA's Knowledge Bank for more.

Australian Government | Australian Renewable Energy Agency | ARENA

ARENA Insights shares knowledge from our open-source library of reports, studies and tools to provide guidance and learnings to benefit future renewable energy projects.

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