Solar energy is a vast and largely untapped resource in Australia, which has the highest solar radiation per square metre of any continent. Recently, central tower Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology has received significant attention due to its ability to cheaply store energy and produce electricity in a 24-hour cycle. Vital to the efficiency of central tower CSP technology is the effectiveness of light absorption at the solar receiver.
The central aim of this project is to develop highly efficient, durable, and economical competitive absorber coatings to help transform the CSP industry, which has the potential of becoming an essential part of the renewable energy sector in Australia and worldwide. To achieve the main objective, a multi-scale engineering approach composed of optics modelling, materials science, and ageing testing will be performed. In this project, three main goals are set. The first goal is to model and understand the light trapping mechanism of a micro-textured coating to find the best morphology that optimises light absorption (position 1). The second goal is to improve the durability and light absorption of solar thermal absorbers by developing micro-texturing and multi-layer deposition techniques as well as introducing new materials (position 2). The third goal is to develop and validate accelerated ageing tests that reproduce the extreme conditions of high temperature, radiative fluxes, thermal stresses and fatigue of CSP receivers (position 3).