Replacing gas with sunshine for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) is a cost-effective solution. This is the key message of US-based company Glasspoint, which has mobilised the biggest investment ever in a solar steam-producing unit in Oman. State-owned Petroleum Development Oman is building a concentrating solar thermal collector field called Miraah next to the Amal West oilfield. Once complete, it will generate more than a gigawatt of solar thermal power to drive EOR operations – saving Oman about 5.6 trillion BTUs of natural gas each year.
The new interest subvention scheme for Concentrating Solar Thermal (CST) technologies administrated by the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) is now open for applications. The scheme has been developed in cooperation with the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) during the GEF-UNIDO-MNRE project, which focuses on increasing the deployment of concentrating solar thermal systems for process heat applications in India. “Technology providers or beneficiaries can use a short-term bridge loan at normal interest rates for pre-financing the 30 % capital subsidy that the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy grants for CST technologies,” explained Dr Anil Misra, National Project Manager at UNIDO (see photo). IREDA also hands out long-term loans covering up to 45 % of the benchmark system cost at 5 % lower-than-usual interest rates. The remaining 25 % are required as equity by the beneficiary.
Direct steam production, 50,000 litres of diesel saved per year and the advantage of the Italian incentive scheme for renewable heat: All these favourable conditions allowed a small dairy in Sardinia to choose a concentrated solar thermal plant with Fresnel collectors for generating 200 °C steam. The steam is used to supply heat to the industrial processes for cheese production. The investment of EUR 400,000 will have a payback period of about 4 years.
The Concentrating Solar Heat (CSH) subsidy scheme in India, managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), started in April 2012 with the target to install 90 demonstration and replication projects totalling 45,000 m² of collector area until March 2017. After half the project period had been over, the UNDP was able to present satisfactory results: The scheme has already helped implement 59 projects with a surface area of 16,373 m². The pie chart shows the shares of different applications in the overall collector area. The largest share, 59 % (9,614 m²), is made up of demonstration projects in process heat or solar cooling.
Since June 2014, a Fresnel collector field with 242 kWth has been feeding into the district cooling system of the MTN Group at its headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. MTN, which has more than 200 million customers, as well as subsidiaries in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East, is one of the leading mobile operators in South Africa – and it is aware of the impact of global warming. “We continuously explore ways in which we can lessen the impact of our operations on the environment. This initiative will not only reduce our carbon footprint but it will substantially reduce our electricity consumption, which will release additional capacity for the national grid,” MTN’s CEO, Zunaid Bulbulia, was quoted as saying in a press release from 17 July 2014. The concentrating solar thermal plant powers the double-effect absorption chiller whose cooling capacity of 330 kW keeps temperatures low in the data centre at MTN’s head office.
The construction of the first testing centre for concentrating solar thermal technology was completed in record time: “The actual work began in mid-February 2014 and was completed by mid-July. It was a real challenge for us, which we are proud to have overcome,” Dr Subhash Ghaisas said in an interview with solarthermalword.org. Ghaisas is not only the Director of the School of Energy Studies, University of Pune, but is also responsible for the new testing site. The photo shows the guests invited to the opening of the testing centre on 22 July 2014, including Dr Ghaisas (sixth from right) and Tarun Kapoor, Joint Secretary for Solar at the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (sixth from left). Also invited was Dr Avinash Singhal (third from left), National Project Manager of the initiative Market Development and Promotion of Solar Concentrator based Process Heat Applications, which financed the new testing centre.
After the Hawaiian manufacturer of parabolic trough systems, Sopogy, has stopped operations, its assets are now being liquidated as well. According to Pacific Business News (PBN), an attorney based in Los Angeles is handling the insolvency proceedings. While the PBN news piece was published in April 2014, Sopogy’s main phone line had already been out of service when German agency solrico carried out its research for the World Map of Solar Process Heat Collector Industry in late 2013. In the meantime, the company´s website has also been taken offline.
On 17 December 2014, the Indian Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah, presented in New Delhi awards to the most successful Channel Partners of the national solar thermal subsidy scheme. In front of around 250 participants from policy, industry and media, Dr Abdullah (third from right) announced the ten winners of National Solar Thermal Awards in the solar water heater category and, for the first time, in the category of concentrating solar thermal (CST) collectors. The awards recognised manufacturers achieving the highest total sales, the highest growth rates, the best dealer network and the highest export rates (see the table below).
A concentrating solar thermal system has been operating successfully at Purple Creations, a children‘s clothing factory at the Baramati Hi-Tech Textile Park in Maharashtra state in western India. The 30 dish concentrators with an absorber area of 480 m² provide the steam required to iron the garments after stitching. The total investment in the plant, which was set up in June 2013 by Thermax India, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of absorption chillers, was close to EUR 50,000.
Indian company Clique Solar was among the award winners at this year’s Intersolar India in November 2012. For the first time, the international fair presented its Intersolar Award in the category of Solar Projects. The three awards went to outstanding projects in the categories of Industrial and Commercial Use, Off-Grid Solutions, and Utility Scale Projects. Clique Solar was founded in 1987 by a group of experienced engineers. The company is one of the very few in the region that has focused on expanding solar energy use in industrial process heat through R&D. One of the successful technologies developed by Clique Solar is the patented concentrating solar thermal system based on ARUN dishes. Solarthermalworld.org spoke with the two promoters of the company, Dr Shireesh B Kedare (left) and Ashok Paranjape, about their country, the new technology and their solar business.
Photo: Clique Solar