Researchers at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle have described their success in using solar energy to generate hot and pressurised supercritical steam at the highest temperatures ever achieved outside of fossil sources as a game-changer for the renewable energy industry.

The researchers achieved a pressure of 23.5 megapascals and temperatures up to 570 degrees Celsius. This combination of pressure and temperature, demonstrated at scale, is a breakthrough for solar power.

CSIRO’s Energy Director, Dr Alex Wonhas says that “It’s like breaking the sound barrier. This step change proves solar has the potential to compete with the peak performance capabilities of fossil fuel sources.”