Integration of concentrated solar thermal energy for high-temperature industrial process

This project demonstrated the integration of concentrated solar thermal (CST) energy for high-temperature-based industrial processes with focus on renewable energy syngas and hydrogen production. With focus on the solar energy potential of Queensland, two commercial process plants for supercritical water gasification (SCWG) and thermochemical water splitting (TCWS) were modelled and assessed for syngas and hydrogen production, respectively. The economic performance of the SCWG plant was accessed for CST and alternative energy utilisation, while the TCWS plant was accessed for 100 per cent CST utilisation.

Furthermore, thermodynamic and exergy assessment of the SCWG was performed to establish the more suitable approach between traditional and intrinsic exergy analysis. The effect of process-energy configuration on the energy, exergy and economic performance of the SCWG was also assessed. The outcomes of this studies demonstrated a better approach for exergy analysis and a more economic SCWG configuration for lower minimum fuel selling price. The process-CST energy approach considered in the TCWS process also suggested a more economic outcome and lower price for renewable energy driven hydrogen production.


  • Solar PTC has economic potential for use in high temperature process plants
  • Solar tower is currently less economic for high temperature process applications
  • Choice of process-energy configuration is key to making SCWG process economical
  • PTC-natural gas energy integration is very promising for an economical SCWG process
  • MFSP is affected by discount rate and the choice of energy at higher capital cost
  • Intrinsic exergy achieved up to 9.42 per cent savings in the SCWG thermo-economics analysis
  • Process-thermal configuration plays a significant role in SCWG exergy performance
  • MFSP of ∼49 AUD/GJ is achievable with the improved energy-process configuration

Funding / Grants

  • QUT Postgraduate Research Award

View of the Sun going behind Clouds