The VirtualSolarTM solar thermal energy storage technology, is capable of storing high grade heat at up to 800C, on demand and 24 hours a day!
The system operates by placing the VirtualSolarTM block receiver containing 10 tonnes of graphite on a 24m tower and surrounding it below with mirrors know as heliostats. Using custom designed software, the heliostats follow the path of the sun and direct its rays onto the graphite. The heat is extracted from the graphite on demand and can be converted to steam, whilst the sun’s rays are still being directed onto the graphite or after the receiver is sealed at night.
An animation of the below system can be seen here: Animated VirtualSolar Thermal Power Plant. The Solastor storage technology that VirtualSolarTM is based on, was selected for funding by the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE) under Advanced Electricity Storage Technologies program.