Dr Manuel Blanco, ASTRI Director
In his role as Director, Dr Blanco draws on his three decades of experience in the solar thermal industry. Dr Blanco will lead the collaboration to reduce the generation costs of solar thermal and make the energy source more accessible.
Throughout his career, Dr Blanco has focused on advancing state-of-the-art of concentrating solar thermal (CST) power technologies and on increasing their market penetration.
Dr Blanco has made an invaluable contribution to the international solar thermal industry, including paving the way for the first commercial solar thermal system installed in Spain and chairing the International Energy Agency’s SolarPACES executive committee, the 20-country network for solar thermal collaboration.
Dr John Pye, ASTRI Node 1 Leader
Dr John Pye is leading Node 1: Reducing the cost of building solar thermal power plants.
Dr Pye is a Lecturer at ANU in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
His research expertise include: high-temperature solar thermal energy, energy systems analysis and modelling, thermodynamics and heat transfer, optical and structural optimisation of concentrators, two-phase flow boiling, solar gasification of biomass for fuel production, solar thermal electricity, cloud-tracking for solar thermal system performance prediction, and grid integration of solar thermal electricity plants with storage. Read more about Dr Pye >
Mr Wes Stein, ASTRI Node 2 Leader
Mr Wes Stein leads the research Node 2: Increasing the capacity factor involving research on increasing operation hours, to sell more electricity to the grid.
Mr Stein joined CSIRO in 2000 after 19 years implementing renewable energy projects with industry, working in power station operation, maintenance and design. Mr Stein is the Concentrating Solar Power Stream Leader in CSIRO’s Energy Flagship and Manager of CSIRO’s National Solar Energy Centre.
He is Principal Investigator for CST projects in high temperature steam, advanced thermal storage, tower air and supercritical CO2 Brayton systems and the solarised fuels program. He has extensive experience in the energy and power industry with a strong background in thermodynamic cycles.
Prof Hal Gurgenci, ASTRI Node 3 Leader
Prof Hal Gurgenci is leading Node 3: Producing more solar thermal power for less cost.
Prof Gurgenci has been working in the area of mining and energy research for the past 30 years in various positions in Australian industry and academia.
Professor Gurgenci is the Director for the Queensland Geothermal Energy Centre of Excellence and a Professor of Mechanical Engineering with the University of Queensland. He is a regular reviewer of the US Department of Energy Geothermal Energy Technology Program and represents Australia in the Research Committee of the International Geothermal Association. Read more about Prof Gurgenci >
Prof Gus Nathan, ASTRI Node 4 Leader
Prof Gus Nathan is leading research Node 4: Reducing the operating and maintenance costs of solar thermal power plants.
Prof Nathan is the founding Director of The University of Adelaide’s Centre for Energy Technology. He has led the centre in developing its vision, identifying priorities and devising and implementing a strategic plan. Under his leadership, the Centre has identified novel approaches with strong potential to make a breakthrough in the delivery of low-cost, clean energy technologies and has engaged with partners spanning industry, international research institutions and government agencies.
Prof Nathan specialises in thermal energy engineering in systems supplied by solar, geothermal and the combustion of fossil and bio-fuels, but also works with hydrogen, wind and wave power. His recent work has focused on novel approaches to integrate and optimise these different energy sources.
He has played a leading role in the development of six patented technologies. A current focus is the development of novel hybrid power systems that combine solar energy with combustion or gasification, with one patent pending in this field. Read more about Prof Nathan >
Ms Sarah Miller, ASTRI Chief Operating Officer
Ms Sarah Miller is a CSIRO Principal Research Scientist in the solar thermal group and is responsible for CST Science Development. Within the CSIRO Energy Flagship Sarah is responsible for CST Science Development, as well as leading research in CST and dewatering of algal biofuels.
Ms Miller has led major projects in the energy and wastewater industries. She has a wide range of experience leading bench and pilot-scale research, as well as industrial field trials and industry consultation.