How Solar Powered Oil Fields Could Build a Greener Future

By February 11, 2016civic, COMMERCIAL, solar

Until recently, the idea of using using clean energy to pump oil seemed to present far too many challenges to make it a truly viable option. That is, until a petroleum giant decided to partner with GlassPoint, a solar startup company out of Silicon Valley.

Using solar steam generators developed by GlassPoint, one of the world’s largest solar farms is currently being built by Petroleum Development Oman. The project, which is underway in the desert of Oman (a country in the Middle East), is being referred to as, “Miraah,” the Arabic word for mirror.

Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) is the largest producer of oil and gas in Oman and responsible for producing about 70 percent of the country’s crude-oil production, as well as most of its natural gas supply.

Together, PDO and GlassPoint aim to build a complex mirror system using clean energy, specifically solar power, to pump oil in the Middle East, the center of the world’s oil resources. The massive solar farm is expected to expand across one square mile of desert, and will produce 6,000 tons of steam daily, with a capacity of upwards of a gigawatt of energy.

Instead of using flames from petroleum to heat water and generate steam, GlassPoint’s technology uses concentrated sunlight and curved mirrors to boil water, which creates high-quality steam for the oil field’s production system.

GlassPoint’s rugged system is enclosed and protected from the desert weather damage that can be caused by wind, sand, and dust storms.

Challenges Ahead

Because of the difficult weather conditions that occur in the desert, solar steam generators used for oil production must be built to meet specific standards. In addition, because oil fields are often located far from cities and towns, getting the necessary equipment and resources to the site presents additional challenges.

Many experts agree that, while the positive implications of this solar project are great, there is much more to do be done in the energy industry; especially in the oil and gas sector.

Alternative, cleaner energy sources must prove to be less expensive than petroleum in order for the trend to catch on and continue successfully. Companies like GlassPoint, however, have certainly opened up the doorway of possibility.

A Greener Future is Coming

This solar project at “Miraah” is estimated to save “300,000 tons of CO2 emissions each year,” which is comparable to eliminating 63,000 automobiles from the environment, simply by using solar power instead of petroleum. So, does this mean the beginning of a new and greener era for the oil and gas sector?

Possibly.

In fact, this could turn out to be one of the largest solar projects in history. Not only does this solar project have the potential to significantly lower carbon dioxide production, but it will also save money in oil production, and provide a boost to the economy.

Although the use of solar technology as a means to power oil fields is still in its early stages, it has the potential to be a real game-changer in terms of profitability and reducing the environmental impact of oil production.

If you’d like to find out how installing solar panels on your roof can help you drive your electric bill down to zero, contact us today for a free quote.