6 February 2013 — Dr Manuel Blanco has taken on the role of director of the CSIRO’s Australian solar thermal research initiative. The initiative will deliver the next wave of cost reduction for solar thermal technologies, to ensure solar thermal is competitive with other renewable and traditional energy sources. The aim is to lower the cost of solar thermal power from 25 to around 12 cents a kilowatt hour by 2020. Throughout his career, Dr Blanco has focused on advancing state-of-the-art of concentrating solar thermal power technologies and on increasing their market penetration. He most recently worked with Spain’s National Renewable Energy Centre, where he was Director of the Solar Thermal Energy Department. Dr Blanco holds doctorates in Engineering (Industrial Engineering, University of Seville) and Philosophy (Applied Physics, University of Massachusetts), as well as Masters in Science at both Universities (Energy Engineering and Industrial Engineering, respectively). He is the chair of the executive committee of SolarPACES, the international energy agency implementing agreement on solar power and chemical energy systems.