Two HELIOtubes® successfully installed at oilfield in Oman

At the oilfield of Qarat al Milh, which is part of the largest exploration site in the Sultanate of Oman, HELIOVIS has successfully installed two HELIOtubes®. They form the heart of the world’s first solar-thermally powered, zero emission water treatment plant for produced water. The oilfield is operated by ARA Petroleum, a dynamic member of the E&P industry in Oman that utilizes the latest technologies which combine optimal operation of the country‘s hydrocarbon assets with environmental stewardship.

Just nine months after breaking ground, the HELIOtubes® have now been erected. One third of the HELIOVIS team from Austria was on site and lent a hand.

As expected, it took only two days to complete the draw-in process for each tube. The easy and quick installation of HELIOVIS’ innovative and cost-effective solar thermal collectors is one of the key competitive advantages of the technology. With installation completed, the commissioning of the plant has started. It will be handed to the customer in the second quarter of 2024. The plant combines HELIOVIS’ proprietary solar thermal technology with the innovative water treatment technology of Trevi Systems Inc. (California).

“The HELIOtubes® in Oman mark a milestone on our way to de-carbonize industrial processes. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to each member of the team for their hard work and dedication and to ARA Petroleum for their support and trust in our technology” says Holger Sindemann, CEO of HELIOVIS.

The energy produced by HELIOVIS’ patented and proven solar thermal technology will be used to clean up to 140m³ of highly saline produced water per day. Produced water refers to naturally occurring water in oil reservoirs, which is co-extracted during the production process. Typically, this water contains high levels of dissolved mineral salts and is often contaminated with hydrocarbons. It is therefore usually discharged into large evaporation ponds or pumped back under ground. At the same time, the freshwater required for oil field operations is produced from seawater at the coast in energy intensive reverse osmosis (RO) plants and transported to the remote exploration sites by truck, leading to high cost and a heavy CO2 footprint.

HELIOVIS’ solar thermal energy will be used to power a forward osmosis (FO) water desalination plant with a direct-osmosis (DO) ZLD unit (zero liquid discharge) to transform produced water with a salinity of ca. 102,000 ppm (3 times more salt than seawater) into ca. 140 m3 of freshwater per day at the oilfield, resulting in significant cost savings and CO2 emission reductions.

HELIOVIS’ HELIOtube® technology uses recyclable inflatable tubes and mirror films to collect and concentrate sunlight and to provide clean industrial process heat in the hard-to-decarbonize mid-temperature range of 90°C to 400°C. The technology provides major cost advantages in manufacturing, shipping/logistics, installation, cleaning, maintenance, and freshwater usage compared to conventional parabolic troughs that employ bent glass mirrors. In the context of the oil & gas industry, it can be used amongst others to power refineries and gas scrubbing facilities, to generate steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR), or to desalinate produced water as in the present case.

This showcase plant will also provide valuable technical learnings and is intended to promote large-scale projects to reduce CO2 emissions throughout the global sunbelt.

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