Auto components maker exports CSIRO solar tech to Japan

Precision Components’ new Heliostat SA division is producing technology developed at the CSIRO for export to Japan.

The Herald Sun and others report that Precision Components, which is heavily involved in supplying the automotive industry, approached the CSIRO last year about manufacturing the research organisation’s Heliostat renewable energy technology under licence.

The company received a $1 million grant for the project from the federal government's Automotive Diversification Programme, aimed at mitigating auto supplier job losses due to the exit of Ford, Holden and Toyota from the local manufacturing scene.

It was an example of a successful transition of manufacturing skills to a new area, said industry minister Ian Macfarlane.

“It’s also an illustration of what can be achieved when science is brought to the centre of industry policy,” he said in a statement.

150 panels made at Heliostat would establish a field at Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems in Japan for research. This is the second deployment of CSIRO’s innovation worldwide, with another at Cyprus.

“These projects are the fruits of more than a decade of solar thermal research emanating from our energy centre in Newcastle and demonstrate the growing worldwide appetite for concentrated solar power,” said the CSIRO’s Dr Alex Wonhas.

The technology involves a field of mirrors whose positioning is controlled by computer. These concentrate and reflect light to receiver on the top of a tower, create superheated steam, and this spins a turbine.