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Solar Enhanced Oil
What is Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery?
Solar enhanced oil recovery or Solar EOR is a new energy technology which utilizes concentrating solar power plants (with "parabolic troughs") to capture the energy of the sun - instead of natural gas (which fires boilers) - for steam generation wherein the steam is injected into oil reservoirs to produce oil through the standard enhanced oil recovery technologies.
Unfortunately for the nascent solar enhanced oil recovery industry and fairly-established concentrating solar power industry, natural gas prices have plummeted to (+/-) $4.00/mmbtu, making solar enhanced oil recovery a technology that cannot be justified or considered by either oil and gas companies/producers or investors wanting a competitive return on their investment.
Additional problems with Solar EOR are the problems relating to the days when the sun isn't shining - rain, fog, drizzle - and there isn't enough (or any) steam that is generated. Even when the sun is shining, the energy produced from the sun from the solar enhanced oil recovery system generates steam for only about 5 hours/day. As oil and natural gas companies engaged in enhanced oil recovery operate 24 x 7 x 365, few, if any, will find much benefit being able to generate steam for only 20% - 25% of each day. These companies engaged in enhanced oil recovery operations will therefore, still be required to have a natural gas fired power plant for steam generation purposes, for their operations. There is no learning curve for these oil and natural gas companies engaged in enhanced oil recovery. Oil and natural gas companies know and understand natural gas fired power plants - typically having their own natural gas to run the power plant.
As an alternative to generating steam via concentrating solar power and solar enhanced oil recovery exorbitant first costs, we offer "tried and true" natural gas based CHP systems take the place of lower efficient natural gas power plants. We recover the practically-free hot water from the engines, for use in steam generation for enhanced oil recovery operations. Pictures of a recently-completed CHP system is found below.
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