Lowest Cost Steam for EOR
GlassPoint is Price Competitive with Natural Gas
In many parts of the world, steam produced by a GlassPoint solar steam generator costs less than steam produced by any other means. In the graph below, the price shown for GlassPoint and conventional solar is the “gas equivalent price” taking into account the total cost of ownership of the system, including capital expenditure and operating expenses, over a twenty year period.
Less Steel = Less Cost
Older solar designs place their mirrors outside, exposed to the full force of the wind. This means that each individual mirror needs to to be reinforced to withstand not only the force of the wind on a typical day, but the peak-wind force encountered during storms. As a result, exposed mirror designs use a large amount of steel and concrete to reinforce their mirrors and stop them from blowing away during storms. Much of GlassPoint’s cost advantage comes from the fact that a glasshouse is much more aerodynamically efficient than an array of individual mirrors exposed to the wind.
As a result, a GlassPoint system uses less than half the steel and concrete than older exposed mirror designs. The complete GlassPoint solar field, including the glasshouse enclosure, weighs less than 5 Kg per square meter of mirror surface. In contrast, a solar field composed of outdoor troughs typically weighs more than 30 Kg per square meter of mirror.
The zero-wind environment created by the glasshouse creates a virtuous cycle of cost reduction:
- Lightweight mirrors, one tenth the weight of outdoor mirrors, reduce reflector mounting and installation costs
- Because of the low weight, smaller less expensive positioning systems can be used
- Lightweight mirrors are hung from the glasshouse roof with no need for individual foundations
- Because there is no wind to distort the mirrors, optical accuracy is improved
- Higher accuracy enables a smaller receiver tube relative to the size of the mirrors, resulting in a higher “concentration ratio” and improved thermal efficiency
Maximizes Land Use
GlassPoint steam generators produce more than 14 tons of steam per acre per day, the highest steam production per unit area in the industry. Achieving high energy density is vital for EOR applications because steam needs to be produced close to the oil field. The low energy density of older systems means that steam has to be transported longer distances reducing steam quality and increasing costs.