Professor Kaneff moved to Canberra in 1966 with his family, and became a professor at the ANU in 1969. He specialized in the area of solar energy and during the 1970s fought hard to receive funding from the ANU and NSW government for research into solar energy.
In 1979 Professor Kaneff was able to successfully lobby the NSW government for funding to build the first commercial solar power station in Australia at White-Cliff, NSW. The White Cliff project that was led by Professor Kaneff was a major breakthrough in solar energy research and represented the viability of solar power as being a major source of energy. The impact the project at White Cliffs was recognised internationally, at a time when similar projects were carried out around the world, foremost in the USA, Europe and Japan.
The results of the project at White Cliffs led to Professor Kaneff pioneering his 400m2 aperture ‘Big Dish’ technology. This form of solar concentrating technology represented a significant technological leap in solar energy conversion efficiency. In 1994 the world’s first Big Dish Solar thermal collector was commissioned at the ANU’s Sullivan’s creek and remains there to this day.
Similarly from the early 1970s onwards, Professor Kaneff aimed to “bottle the sun” by developing a solar-driven closed-loop thermochemical ammonia dissociation reaction together with his colleagues. As successfully demonstrated during the early nineties at the ANU, this thermochemical energy storage system allowed generating solar power on a 24-hour basis.
Professor Kaneff’s contributions to the field of solar energy and his role in pioneering solar energy in Australia has led to him being named a member of the Solar Hall of fame. His work in the field of solar energy has been critical in establishing the viability of solar energy as a renewable and viable option for the future. His work has influenced countless scientists, engineers, business people and policy makers.