Canberra Airport to purchase US$10m in Vast Solar shares

aerial image of vast solar's pilot project Jemalong Solar Farm (canberra)
Vast Solar's pilot project Jemalong solar farm

Canberra Airport Group has committed to purchase US$10 million worth of shares in solar thermal power firm Vast Solar ahead of the company’s US public listing.

Canberra Airport’s investment recognises the potential for Vast’s technology to be used to produce low-cost sustainable aviation fuels, a key challenge for the aviation industry as it aims to achieve decarbonisation targets.

Related article: Vast awards VS1 engineering contract to Worley

Vast’s proprietary CSP v3.0 technology has received significant support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which recently announced approval for up to AUD $65 million in grant funding to support the construction of Vast Solar 1 (VS1), a 30MW CSP plant with 288MWh of thermal storage located in Port Augusta, South Australia.

VS1 will be co-located with Solar Methanol 1 (SM1), a world-first green methanol demonstration plant which has been selected to receive AUD$19.48 million and EUR€13.2 million of grant funding from a collaboration between the Australian and German Governments, respectively.

Half of Canberra Airport’s commitment will serve as a backstop for subsequent capital raised by Vast from additional third-party debt or equity financing sources and is subject to a nominal commitment fee.

The investment is another in Canberra Airport’s long-standing and deep commitment to implementing sustainability measures throughout its business, including solar generation, rainwater harvesting, carbon sequestration, alternative agriculture, and wind farming.

Related article: Vast signs Mabanaft for world-first solar methanol plant

Vast CEO Craig Wood said, “Canberra Airport’s commitment will help us accelerate the global implementation of our proprietary CSP v.3.0 technology for the decarbonisation of methanol and sustainable fuel production. Canberra Airport’s extensive experience and long history in the aviation industry will be tremendously valuable as we start to produce sustainable aviation fuels in the coming years.

“This is a significant step towards the completion of the business combination and will help us bring our Australia-made technology to the world,” he added.

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