Australian technology company Graphite Energy has received development approval to build a $29 million facility at Lake Cargelligo in Central West NSW. The facility will mark the first stage of the company’s Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct.
Graphite Energy has developed a proprietary thermal energy storage system for the decarbonisation of industrial and manufacturing operations. The Lake Cargelligo facility will extend the company’s current site to house a new manufacturing research building, which will be used to design and test systems that will deliver the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct.
Upon completion, the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct will generate renewable energy to power sustainable agriculture, serving as an Australian-first pilot model that can be scaled and replicated domestically and internationally.
It is a collaborative effort between Graphite Energy and Cygnus Ag, as well as other stakeholders from industry, research and government. The project aims to demonstrate how renewable energy and agriculture can coexist, using industry advancements to enable clean energy sources without forgoing farmland.
The Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct masterplan will include a 5MW solar photovoltaic field combined with multiple forms of integrated energy storage, including battery energy storage; thermal energy storage for heating, cooling and drying; and hydrogen energy storage for electricity and diesel fuel substitution.
The energy will be used to power sustainable agriculture operations, including agrivoltaics among solar panels, a greenhouse, and a fish farm.
Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct is estimated to reduce 250,000 tCO2-e in carbon emissions during its lifetime. Surplus energy generated will be exported to the grid and waste streams generated from agricultural operations will be recycled to create compost and fertiliser.
“As well as supporting local agriculture in Lake Cargelligo, the Lake Sustainable Energy Precinct will pioneer a pathway for the decarbonisation of agriculture more broadly, which will be a difficult-to-abate sector of the economy,” says Graphite Energy chief executive officer Peter Lemmich.
“We hope this will become a model that can be replicated elsewhere as we transition to a lower carbon economy.”