How renewable energy is helping the Middle East's oil and gas industry
GlassPoint’s innovations include enclosed trough technology, which is being deployed at gigawatt scale on an oilfield in the Oman desert and a first-of-its-kind solar thermal solution that brings the solar collectors indoors to reduce costs and overcome operating challenges.=
“GlassPoint’s innovation was to bring the solar collectors inside a commercial greenhouse, the kind used by the agricultural industry. The greenhouse structure isolates the mirrors and other solar components from the elements, which leads to significant cost and performance advantages,” explained Dr. Treynor.
She added: “By eliminating the wind load, GlassPoint is able to use ultra-light weight, thin reflectors, which are suspended from the roof of the greenhouse. Compared to older solar thermal designs with exposed reflectors, we use a fraction of the raw materials throughout the entire system. This has a cascading effect on cost—from reduced shipping costs, installation costs, to using smaller, off-the-shelf motors and drive systems used to track the sun. Since our reflectors are low-cost, we pack them much closer together to achieve the highest ground efficiency of any solar thermal system. This is particularly important for steam generation on oilfields, where siting is limited by active wells, roads and transmission lines.”
GlassPoint’s enclosed trough technology uses concentrated sunlight to produce steam used in oil production. Its technology has been deployed on oilfields in California and the Middle East, where its demonstrated consistent operational uptime even through severe sand storms. Automated washing units clean the roof of the greenhouse each night, removing layers of sand and dust that can reduce efficiency.
GlassPoint is currently building one of the world’s largest solar plants of any kind with Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), the country’s largest oil and gas producer. Miraah, which means mirror in Arabic, is a 1,021 MW thermal project bridging the renewable and traditional energy industries. Once complete, it will produce 6,000 tons of steam daily, delivering a significant portion of the steam requirements at PDO’s Amal field.
“Miraah will be 100 times larger than the pilot facility that’s been operating successfully in Oman for over three years,” Dr. Treynor added. “Construction of Miraah is progressing faster than the plan and is currently under budget. The project consists of 36 greenhouse blocks, built in a continuous sequence. We are on track to deliver first steam from the first four greenhouses before the end of 2017.”
Read the October 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.