'Revolutionary' clean energy tech launched in regional NSW
A new clean energy system launched April 17 could mean cost savings in electricity generation for remote mining and industrial sites and rural communities.
A partnership between Granite Power Limited, the University of Newcastle (UON), Newcastle Innovation, the Newcastle Institute for Energy and Resources (NIER) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the new technology was demonstrated at Wallsend Swimming Centre, producing both electricity and heat for onsite use.
The GRANEX demonstration plant comprises a 200-kilowatt field of parabolic solar collectors plus related power block and thermal storage elements at The City of Newcastle's Wallsend Swimming Centre.
Invented by Professor Behdad Moghtaderi and Dr Elham Doroodchi (UON) and developed by Granite Power, GRANEX is a heat conversion technology that generates low cost, zero carbon emission electricity from any available heat sources, such as industrial waste heat, solar and geothermal energy sources.
Professor Moghtaderi said the project provides a working proof that this breakthrough technology generates electricity for commercial use or sale into the Grid, improves productivity and quickly pays for itself.
"This project demonstrates the financial rewards of the GRANEX technology in a market searching for productivity gains and where rising electricity costs are a constant threat to commercial competiveness," he said.
"GRANEX has the potential to reduce fuel use for remote industrial sites currently reliant on diesel power generation including mining and the oil and gas sector and to maximise solar thermal power generation.
"Alongside the tangible cost saving benefit to industry, this technology will have widespread social impacts in reducing the need for diesel generation in remote Australian communities."
Managing Director and CEO of Granite Power, Stephen de Belle said this operating plant is working proof of the efficiency and financial benefits of GRANEX technology at low marginal cost and requiring minimum maintenance.
"The plant shows the higher efficiencies of GRANEX technology as well as its wide application to energy sources – solar, waste heat or a hybrid mix of the two – for low cost, zero carbon electricity generation.
"Its existence is already facilitating sales into export markets in Asia, Latin America and the USA, and well illustrates the importance of direct funding of reference sites for the process of commercialisation of improved technology," de Belle said.
What began as a small-scale consultancy project by Professor Moghtaderi for Granite Power through Newcastle Innovation (the UON's commercial arm), GRANEX is now a commercially licensed, patented technology with wide application and huge potential.
"GRANEX is a great demonstration of how through a strategic commercialisation process, scientific lab-developed concepts can transform into innovative solutions to industry challenges," Acting CEO of Newcastle Innovation, Chris Kelleher, said.
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