Through the use of solar collectors, concentrated solar thermal technology (CST) harnesses solar energy to produce heat or electricity. The process is simple although difficult to execute successfully: large mirrors or lenses focus sunlight onto a narrow region known as the receiver.

These mirrors are what are known as solar collectors and they come in a variety of formats each with a distinct design and focusing technique, such as dish systems, solar power towers, and parabolic troughs. 

The technology then sees the use of a receiver, which is situated at the solar collector's focal point, that is in charge of absorbing and turning the concentrated sunlight into heat. The receiver's contents include heat-transfer fluids such as molten salt or high-temperature oil.

CST has a few drawbacks: it requires a favorable climate with constant sunshine in order to function at its best, and it is expensive. Now, Australia’s National Science Agency CSIRO has made a key breakthrough in the technology which may make it very viable for the nation and perhaps the world.

The researchers were able to reach the crucial milestone temperature of 803 °C at the receiver for the first time ever. 

"This is significant because it creates the opportunity for greater renewable energy storage when combined with our patented heat exchanger," said Dr Jin-Soo Kim, who leads the agency’s solar technologies team.

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