• 2 days PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 days Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 2 days Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 2 days Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 2 days Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 2 days Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 2 days Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 2 days New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 2 days Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 2 days Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 3 days Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 3 days British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 3 days Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 3 days Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 3 days Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 3 days OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 3 days London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 3 days Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 3 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 4 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 4 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 4 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 4 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 4 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 4 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 5 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 5 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 5 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 5 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 5 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 5 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 5 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 5 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 5 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 6 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 6 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 6 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 6 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 6 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 6 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Tesla Execs Bail As Cash Flow Hits Record Lows

Tesla Execs Bail As Cash Flow Hits Record Lows

Amid a rough second quarter…

Can Trump Drive A Wedge Between Saudi-Russian Alliance?

Can Trump Drive A Wedge Between Saudi-Russian Alliance?

Trump’s Iran deal decertification threatens…

Australian Researchers Break The ‘Solar Barrier’

Australian Researchers Break The ‘Solar Barrier’

Australia’s national science agency says it has used sunlight to create “supercritical” steam that can compete with coal and gas to run power stations.

Researchers from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) energy center in Newcastle in southeastern Australia say they recently reflected solar heat from a field of mirrors, called heliostats, and focused it onto a central receiver to create the supercritical steam.

Supercritical solar steam is created from water that’s pressurized at enormous force and heated by solar energy. In this case, the CSIRO researchers heated the steam to 570 degrees Celsius (1,058 degrees Fahrenheit), the melting temperature of aluminum alloy. The pressure they achieved was 23.5 megapascals, or about 100 times the pressure of a car’s tire.

The research may sound obscure, but Dr. Alex Wonhas, CSIRO's energy director, calls it a potential revolution for the renewable energy industry.

“It's like breaking the sound barrier,” Wonhas said. “This step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources.”

Related Article: Plans to Put PV to Pasture?

So far, the researchers say, solar power plants have been capable of operating only at “subcritical” levels. The CSIRO researchers have shown that solar energy can now generate electricity with no carbon emissions.

“Well, certainly that’s what we’d like to think,” says Robbie McNaughton, who directed the $9.7 million research program.

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp. McNaughton said, “It's important to remember that what we've done is really the first step along a fairly long path still, in demonstrating that we can actually do these things with solar technologies.”

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com



Join the discussion | Back to homepage

Leave a comment
  • Graham on June 07 2014 said:
    I am confused by this. I thought the Spanish had always been using supercritical steam in their solar powered steam generators that have been around for years.
    I'm not a steam power engineer and I don't know what the advantage is anyway. Wouldnt it be subcritical after the first stage anyway?

    I would have thought the boiler would be less efficient because of the smaller temperature difference.

    Go back and ask what is the difference in output and efficiency per mirror or per square metre of paddock between warm steam and critical steam?

Leave a comment

Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News