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Canberra Airport to invest up to $US 10 million in Vast

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Concentrated solar power company (CSP) Vast Solar has announced a subscription agreement with Canberra Airport Group for the purchase up to $US 10 million of Vast shares, at an approximate price of $US 10.20 per share, through an investment vehicle. 

In a statement on Friday, Vast said the agreement is subject to the closing of previously-announced business combination between Vast and Nabors Energy Transition Corp (NETC), announced in February, and which would see Vast be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Canberra Airport committed to purchasing $US 5 million worth of ordinary shares, and a further $US 5 million if conditions are met, ahead of Vast’s listing

Vast was founded in Australia in 2009, and has developed a proprietary CSP system using a modular tower design and sodium loop for heat transfer, capturing and storing solar heat for conversion into renewable electricity and heat.

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

 “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,” said Craig Wood, Vast’s CEO.

“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.>

$US 5 million of Canberra Airport’s commitment will “serve as a backstop for subsequent capital raised by Vast” via additional third-party debt or equity financing sources, “and is subject to a nominal commitment fee.” 

Vast has received support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), recently announcing up to $65 million in grant funding to support construction of Vast Solar 1 (VS1), announced in January. VS1 is a 30MW CSP plant with 288 MWh of thermal storage in Port Augusta, South Australia. 

VS1 will be co-located with Solar Methanol 1 (SM1), a green methanol demo plant which was awarded $19.48 million and €13.2 million of grant funding from a collaboration between the Australian and German Governments, respectively.

“We are confident in Vast and know that its unique technology will be important to power the grid and green fuels projects including Sustainable Aviation Fuel and methanol for shipping,” said Stephen Byron, Managing Director of Canberra Airport.

Picture: credit Vast

Further reading

Vast Solar gains partner for solar methanol export

Vast Solar gets Australia and German backing for methanol project

Vast Solar builds on success to list on NYSE

Vast Solar appoints engineering firm to concentrated solar power project

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