Canberra Airport Group invests in Vast Solar for SAF production

Interior view of Canberra Airport terminal.
Kgbo, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Australia’s Canberra Airport Group has forged a strategic alliance with Vast Solar Pty Ltd (Vast), a world-renowned leader in concentrated solar thermal power (CSP) energy systems.

This partnership marks a significant milestone in the quest for greener aviation solutions and has the potential to reshape the future of the aviation industry.

The Partnership

Canberra Airport (CBR) has committed to investing up to USD $10 million in Vast Solar technology. This investment will involve the purchase of Vast ordinary shares at an approximate price of USD $10.20 per share through an investment vehicle.

However, the agreement is contingent upon the successful completion of the previously announced business combination between Vast and Nabors Energy Transition Corp. (NETC).

Canberra Airport’s investment acknowledges Vast’s potential to revolutionize the production of low-cost sustainable aviation fuels.

This is a critical step forward as the aviation industry intensifies its efforts to achieve ambitious decarbonization targets.

Vast’s proprietary CSP v3.0 technology has garnered significant support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), which recently granted approval for up to AUD $65 million in funding to support the construction of Vast Solar 1 (VS1).


Canberra Airport terminal exterior
User: Bidgee, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Vast Solar 1 Project

VS1 is set to be a game-changer in the renewable energy landscape. It is a 30MW CSP plant equipped with 288 MWh of thermal storage, strategically located in Port Augusta, South Australia. This project aligns with Canberra Airport’s commitment to sustainability.

Green Methanol Demonstration Plant

Alongside VS1, Vast is collaborating on the Solar Methanol 1 (SM1) project, a world-first green methanol demonstration plant.

This initiative has received substantial grant funding from both the Australian and German Governments, totaling AUD $19.48 million and EUR €13.2 million, respectively. These investments underscore the global significance of the project.

Backstop Commitment

Canberra Airport’s commitment of USD $5 million will serve as a backstop for additional capital raised by Vast from third-party debt or equity financing sources.

This commitment is subject to a nominal commitment fee and reflects Canberra Airport’s dedication to sustainability measures across its operations.

This investment reinforces Canberra Airport’s longstanding dedication to sustainability. The airport has consistently implemented green initiatives, including solar generation, rainwater harvesting, carbon sequestration, alternative agriculture, and wind farming.

Stakeholder Comments

Stephen Byron, Managing Director of Canberra Airport, expressed confidence in Vast and emphasized the importance of their unique technology in powering grid and green fuels projects.

He stated, “We have been conducting due diligence of Vast for some time and are delighted to be investing in the growth of the business.”

Craig Wood, CEO of Vast, highlighted the significance of Canberra Airport’s commitment. He said,

“Canberra Airport’s commitment will help us accelerate the global implementation of our proprietary CSP v.3.0 technology for the decarbonization 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.”

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By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
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