Vast Solar selected by Australian and German governments for AUD$19.48m and EUR13.2m to advance green methanol production
Australian cleantech company Vast Solar, a world-leader in concentrated solar thermal power (CSP), and the Solar Methanol Consortium have been selected to receive AUD$19.48m and EUR13.2m from a collaboration between the Australian and German Governments to develop a world-first green methanol demonstration plant, SM1 in Port Augusta, South Australia.
The German-Australian Hydrogen Innovation and Technology Incubator (known as HyGATE) is a funding round with up to AUD$50m and EUR50m available to support real-world pilot, trial and demonstration projects along the hydrogen supply chain. It plays a key role in supporting the growth of the clean energy sector in Australia as well as supporting cross industry clean transition.
Methanol is the most versatile hydrogen derivative which, if produced using clean energy, has the potential to decarbonise several hard-to-abate industries, including shipping and aviation. Vast Solar leads the Solar Methanol Consortium in Australia as Principal Energy Partner alongside Fichtner leading in Germany and is supported by fellow Australian technology company Calix as Principal CO2 Supply Partner and the Australian Solar Thermal Research Institute (ASTRI). SM1 will produce 7,500 tonnes per annum of green methanol and the Consortium has attracted the interest of local and international offtakers, including major shipping companies and airlines.
The project will be a catalyst for a solar methanol industry in Australia, with the potential to export the fuel to Germany and other global markets, creating hundreds of highly-skilled jobs.
Announcing the funding, CEO Darren Miller from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency said:
“We’re excited to be able to announce these four hydrogen projects that demonstrate the benefit of global collaboration to achieve a new export industry in renewable hydrogen and push us further towards the goal of net zero emissions."
Craig Wood, CEO of Vast Solar, said:
“SM1 has the potential to supply the shipping and aviation industries with zero-emission fuel. This is a major step forward in helping to decarbonise hard-to-abate sectors and we applaud the Australian and German Governments’ leadership.
“With the support of ARENA and the Australian government, Vast Solar has become a world-leader in CSP, and today’s announcement has the potential to supercharge the domestic renewables industry.”
Calix CEO and Managing Director, Phil Hodgson said:
“Calix’s Leilac technology, in partnership with Adbri, will be used to make zero emissions lime for Adbri customers, using renewable electricity and efficient capture of unavoidable CO2 emissions from limestone. At the same time, Calix and Adbri are excited to work with the Solar Methanol Consortium to enable the supply of captured CO2 emissions to make green methanol.
“We look forward to the outcomes of the HyGATE project, which has the potential to further catalyse support for CO2 capture and to pioneer new green fuels for aviation and shipping.”
Calix’s Leilac technology enables the electrification of calcination and the efficient capture of unavoidable process CO2 emissions.
About Vast Solar
Vast Solar is an Australian developer of concentrating solar thermal power technology. Its innovative modular tower solar array combines the best elements of molten salt towers and parabolic trough systems to deliver the world’s lowest cost dispatchable, renewable energy for hot, dry climates.
In October 2019, the Company was awarded the International Energy Agency’s prestigious SolarPACES Technical Innovation Award for the world’s most innovative concentrated solar thermal power technology, and it was shortlisted in 2022 as one of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Pioneers.
Vast Solar is currently developing two CSP projects in Australia: the 30MW VS1 in Port Augusta, South Australia; and the 50MW VS2 baseload solar hybrid in Mount Isa, Queensland.