- Written by AUSTELA
In a world-leading development, October 2012 saw a new 9.3MWth concentrating solar thermal plant come into operation at Liddell power station in the Hunter Valley , see Figure 1. The plant uses the Fresnel technology with direct steam generation to provide solar steam boost to the Liddell coal-fired plant. It follows the successful operation of a smaller compact linear Fresnel test field at the Liddell plant since 2004.
The CST plant provides saturated steam to preheat the feedwater in the coal fired power station, offsetting coal consumption equivalent to approximately 5,000t CO2 per annum.
The new solar field has a total mirror surface of 18,500m² and more than 4,500 solar field components, manufactured at Novatec Solar's local production facility and by businesses from the Hunter Valley. The project received $9.25 million from the NSW Government Climate Change Fund Renewable Energy Development Program .
The fuel-saving solar boost CST plant at Liddell is the first to commence operation in Australia but another project, also using Fresnel technology, is currently under construction at the Kogan Creek power station in QLD. When complete in 2013, the Kogan Creek CST plant will be the largest CSP-coal hybrid in the world with an equivalent of 44MWe .
Figure 1: The new Novatec Compact Linear Fresnel field at Liddell power station
Figure 2: First (Ausra) Compact Linear Fresnel field at Liddell power station
The Liddell and Kogan Creek projects position Australian CST at the forefront of research and development of CSP-coal hybridisation, a technology with significant potential around the world to improve carbon efficiency and reduce emissions from coal-fired power generation during the transition to low-carbon energy systems .
 Novatec Solar GmbH, "Novatec Solar's Australian Fuel-Saver Commences Operation," 2012. [Online]. Available: www.transfield.com.au/news/MediaReleases/20121024_Novatec Solar Australian Fuel Saver Commences Operation.pdf. [Accessed: 03-Jan-2013].
 CS Energy, "Work starts on Kogan Creek Solar Boost Project," 2011. [Online]. Available: http://kogansolarboost.com.au/news/work-starts-on-kogan-creek-solar-boost-project/. [Accessed: 06-Feb-2013].