World-renowned Solar Scientist Joins CSIRO as Director of Solar Thermal Research


World renowned solar scientist Dr. Manuel J. Blanco joins Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as Director of the Australian Solar Thermal Research Initiative (ASTRI), according to the CSIRO website.

Dr. Manuel Blanco, ASTRI Director image courtesy of CSIRO
Dr. Manuel Blanco, ASTRI Director
image courtesy of CSIRO

ASTRI is an AUD$87 million international collaboration which includes seven universities and the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories. Supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, ASTRI has been changing the energy industry in Australia by lowering the cost of solar thermal, the energy technology that can create heat, electricity and fuels, for eight years now.

Meanwhile, Dr. Blanco, a world-renowned scientist, brings his almost three decades of expertise in academics, research and development managerial experience to ASTRI. He comes from Spain’s National Renewable Energy Centre (CENER) where he held the position of Director of the Solar Thermal Energy Department.


The academician is known for pioneering the first commercial solar thermal system installed in Spain. He also chaired the International Energy Agency’s SolarPACES executive committee, which is a solar thermal collaboration of 20 countries.

“Australia has one of the best solar resources in the world,” Dr. Blanco said. “It is a natural fit for an international solar thermal research collaboration to use this resource and our expertise to make solar power the cheapest, cleanest energy source it can be.”

“We will reduce the cost of solar thermal to just 12 cents a kilowatt hour by 2020 and provide zero-emission energy to people when they need it. It’s a technological leap but we will do it. We are working with the best in the world,” he added.

According to CSIRO, concentrating thermal power uses mirrors to focus sunshine to generate heat, which can be used to power a turbine to produce electricity. It can also be used to create chemical reactions that will bring about solar derived products such as fuels.

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