Solar-enhanced oil recovery (EOR) company GlassPoint Solar has closed a $26m Series B financing round. The round included participation from a new strategic investor, Royal Dutch Shell, as well as energy investment firms RockPort Capital, Nth Power and existing investor Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital.
The funding is a key next step to future large-scale deployment of GlassPoint’s solar steam technology in EOR projects around the world, the company said.
‘We are delighted that Shell and some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent energy investors chose to participate in this round of funding,’said Rod MacGregor, CEO of GlassPoint. ‘We believe this investment validates our business and technical approach of creating solar solutions specifically for the oil and gas industry.’
GlassPoint’s design encloses parabolic troughs inside a glasshouse structure, which protects the system from high winds and seals the solar collectors from dust, dirt, sand and humidity. The protected environment enables the use of ultralight, low-cost reflective materials and automated washing equipment, further reducing costs and water use.
GlassPoint steam generators are designed to use the same low-quality boiler water as once-through steam generators, the industry’s current best practices, eliminating the need for costly water pretreatment.
Geert van de Wouw, fund manager, Shell Technology Ventures, said, ‘Our decision to invest in GlassPoint is further underpinned by the extensive definition and assessment work undertaken by Petroleum Development Oman [PDO], a joint venture between the Government of Oman, Royal Dutch Shell, Total and Partex, with a 7MW solar project field trial currently in construction in the Sultanate of Oman.
‘The collaboration with GlassPoint and PDO represents an exciting opportunity to leverage an innovative technology which aims to use the full potential of solar power in the oil and gas industry. We are looking forward to the outcome of the solar trial which, if successful, can help to optimize oil recovery and avoid the use of valuable natural gas in Thermal EOR projects. The promise of the GlassPoint system is that it is expected to lower both the economic cost of producing oil whilst at the same time reducing our footprint.’
Last year, GlassPoint unveiled the world’s first commercial solar EOR project at a 100-year old oil field operated by Berry Petroleum in McKittrick, California. The company is currently constructing a 7MW field trial project in Southern Oman together with PDO.
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