GlassPoint Solar liquidated after oil and gas slump; India unveils low-cost parabolic troughs

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GlassPoint's reliance on oil and gas demand has proved fatal but its technology may be sold. (Image credit: 7Adams)

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Oil recovery group GlassPoint Solar liquidated

California's GlassPoint Solar has gone into liquidation due to sharp falls in oil and gas prices following the COVID-19 outbreak, Oman's government, the largest stakeholder in GlassPoint, said in a statement.

A concentrated solar heat (CSH) developer specializing in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), GlassPoint developed the giant 1 GW Miraah CSH EOR plant at Petroleum Development Oman's Amal oilfield.

Low oil market returns and higher dependency on gas supplies have led countries such as Oman and Kuwait to develop CSH EOR as a way of reducing production costs.

The $600 million Miraah CSP plant can produce 6,000 tons of steam per day and save as much as 5.6 trillion BTU of natural gas per year. Oman can then use this gas for industrial development, power generation and LNG exports.

GlassPoint's shareholders decided to liquidate the company after the coronavirus pandemic cut revenues in the oil and gas, travel and hospitality sectors, Oman's finance ministry said.

Oman holds a 31% share in the company and other stakeholders include Royal Dutch Shell.

"In view of these challenging economic circumstances and uncertainties about the short and long-term oil prices, investors have agreed to cease additional funding to the company operations," the ministry said.

GlassPoint was hoping to follow Miraah with large CSH facilities in the US and the Middle East.

In 2017, GlassPoint and US oil and gas producer Aera Energy agreed to develop an 850 MW facility in Bakersfield, California.

In 2018, GlassPoint signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Occidental of Oman to develop a 2 GW plant for EOR at the Mukhaizna oilfield.

GlassPoint's technology uses enclosed parabolic trough technology to produce steam. Investors have already expressed interest in buying the intellectual property rights, the ministry said.

India develops low-cost parabolic trough collectors

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (IIT-Madras) have developed a low-cost parabolic trough collector designed for agriculture and industrial process heat sectors, the Institute announced May 21.

The mirrors are lightweight and provide high energy efficiency under various climatic and load conditions, IIT-Madras said.

A number of CSP developers are targeting the growing industrial power and heat sectors.

Industrial heat makes up two-thirds of industrial energy demand and is responsible for most of the sectors' CO2 emissions.

                  Global industrial heat demand by temperature level

                                                          (Click image to enlarge)

Industrial segments which can be served by CSP-centered heating systems include chemicals, plastics, food and beverage, machinery, mining, paper manufacturing, textiles and metal surface treatment.

In the agriculture sector, Denmark's Aalborg has built a 36 MW CSP tower plant and integrated energy system for a Sundrop Farms tomato growing estate in the South Australian desert.

The plant incorporates a CSP tower system to provide electricity, heating and desalination services to 200,000 square meters of state-of-the-art greenhouses. Freshwater is provided from the desalination of seawater transported 5 km from the Spencer Gulf coast.

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