Australian solar thermal technology will be used to help China reach its clean energy targets, the nation's peak scientific body said on Tuesday.
Larry Marshall, chief executive of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) announced the partnership between Chinese company Thermal Focus and the CSIRO following China's aim to produce 5 gigawatts of concentrating solar thermal (CST) electricity by 2020.
Marshall said the agreement would enable Thermal Focus to make, sell and install the CSIRO's patented solar heliostat technology and design software in China, while the shared revenue stream will be used to fund other climate research back in Australia.
"Australia is a leader in clean energy technology and CSIRO's partnership with China's Thermal Focus takes our climate mitigation focus to a global stage," Marshall said in a statement on Tuesday.
"This is another great example of all four pillars of our Strategy 2020 in action; using excellent science to deliver breakthrough innovation, and through global collaboration, increasing renewable energy deliverables.
"Through this collaboration and our continued solar research, we will be helping to generate cleaner energy, cost savings and technology export benefits for Australia; all lowering global greenhouse gas emissions."
The heliostat technology uses a number of mirrors to concentrate reflected sunlight onto a receiver. The resulting beam is then used to heat "molten salt" which generates a super hot steam which, in turn, generates electricity through a turbine.
The mirrors follow the path of the sun during the day, meaning the technology is one of the most efficient at producing electricity.
Zhu Wei from Thermal Focus said the CSIRO's pedigree in solar thermal technology meant its designs were the most attractive to the Chinese market.
"CSIRO's solar thermal technology combined with our manufacturing capability will help expedite and deliver solar thermal as an important source of renewable energy in China," he said.