SolaRISE, which stands for Solar Research, Innovation and Sustainability in Energy, is a joint initiative formed to develop and test next generation solar technologies in oilfield environment.
The centre will focus on continuous cost reduction, including new concepts and designs to reduce material costs, ease oilfield integration and automate operations. It will also pilot and evaluate solutions for using solar energy for other industrial processes in Oman and around the world.
“GlassPoint is continuously innovating and improving its technology in response to the needs of our customers. With PDO’s support, new technologies and materials developed in our labs will now be deployed at scale in the desert and perfected against oil and gas standards,” said Steven Moss, CEO of GlassPoint.
He added, “GlassPoint designed the only solar steam generator made for oilfield deployment. As a pioneer in enhanced oil recovery and the growing energy convergence, PDO will provide valuable insights as we test, refine and scale future solutions for the oilfield and beyond.”
GlassPoint’s partnership with PDO began over seven years ago. After a successful pilot programme, the companies began building Miraah, which will be one of the world’s largest solar plants. The first 100MWt of Miraah began operating last year and is meeting all performance targets. An additional 200MWt will come on stream by next year. The new technology centre is already under development a few kilometers away from Miraah in southern Oman.
Raoul Restucci, managing director of PDO, said, “PDO’s successful partnership with GlassPoint has put Oman on the global solar energy map. While oil and gas continue to be fundamental to our energy mix, we are developing innovative renewable solutions to create new growth opportunities for the company as well as for the nation.”
GlassPoint’s technology uses large mirrors to concentrate sunlight and boil water into steam to facilitate oil production. The innovation was to bring the mirrors and other system components indoors, using a greenhouse structure to protect from wind and sand, improving performance. The greenhouse enables major cost advantages compared to exposed solar designs.