The Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI) is a consortium of leading Australian research institutions, which was established to provide a coordinated, national approach to the development and demonstration of solar thermal technologies. The focus of ASTRI’s activities is on high temperature Concentrated Solar Thermal (CST) systems for energy storage, power generation and process heat.
ASTRI was established in 2012 through a contractual arrangement between the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO). Under this arrangement, ASTRI’s primary objective is to facilitate the commercial uptake of more efficient, higher temperature solar thermal technologies and CST systems. ASTRI seeks to achieve this commercial uptake objective through two primary mechanisms:
- the development and demonstration of next generation, higher temperature solar thermal technologies specifically designed to increase CST system performance and market competitiveness through lower cost and improved efficiency.
- the provision of support to commercial CST technology providers and system developers to improve awareness and uptake of CST technologies and systems in Australia.
The first of these mechanisms is about facilitating commercial uptake through the design, development and demonstration of future technologies and systems. The second of these mechanisms is about facilitating commercial uptake by supporting the deployment of current technologies and systems.
From an ASTRI perspective, the focus on commercial uptake is critical to ensuring that the Australian market has timely access to viable CST technologies and systems to help support Australia’s transition to a low-emissions energy future. The ability of CST systems to store large amounts of energy, which can then be dispatched on demand, anytime of day or night, is seen as an important enabler of a high penetration renewable energy system.
In seeking to facilitate commercial uptake, ASTRI recognises the importance of establishing value proposition of CST technologies and systems across a range of applications, including utility scale, fringe-of-grid (FOG), remote and industrial systems.
ASTRI is supported by the Australian Government, through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
ASTRI Governance and Management Structure