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Australia seeks to export SolarGen technology to India

According to reports, Australia is exploring the opportunities of exporting SolarGen technology which it feels has potential applications in Indian industry. Some of the sectors identified are petrochemicals, fertilisers and transportation.

Developed by Australian scientists the technology can provide a sustainable and cost effective alternative for the production of hydrogen, which in turn will help these industries, says Jim Hinkley, of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

In India recently, Hinkley told Business Line that, “There is a particularly strong potential to roll out the technology in Gujarat and Rajasthan because both states have excellent solar resources and natural gas infrastructure, as well as being major industrial users of hydrogen”.

The technology facilitates concentrating the sun’s rays to drive a reaction between water and natural gas which stores solar energy in the form of chemical bonds. The resulting fuel has a higher energy yield than natural gas. The SolarGas can then be used to produce high-efficiency electricity in a gas engine or turbine, he explained.

According to CSIRO by using Sun’s rays for heat, in combination with new catalysts, SolarGas uses upto 50 per cent less fossil fuel and higher percentage of water as well.

A study has also found that the technology developed by the CSIRO could help India’s efforts towards achieving energy security. Some of the benefits include improved energy and food security by reducing natural gas consumption; new jobs created through local manufacturing and operation of the technology; the potential to produce solar liquid fuels for transport.

The study was funded by the Australian Government and undertaken by CSIRO in collaboration with the Solar Energy Corporation of India. It has also developed a concept design for a pilot scale SolarGas facility and identified numerous potential host sites suitable for such a pilot project.

Energy and energy security are critical issues for Australia and India, and we have much to offer each other by sharing our renewable technology expertise and technology, said Australia’s High Commissioner to India Patrick Suckling while launching the study recently.

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