California-based solar steam producer GlassPoint has appointed former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull to its advisory board as it looks to roll out its concentrated solar technology in the hard-to-abate mining, metals and manufacturing sectors.
The company, which has been recapitalised and refocused after entering liquidation in 2020, uses concentrated solar arrays housed in glass greenhouses to produce steam at gigawatt scale with no carbon emissions.
GlassPoint’s enclosed trough technology uses large, curved mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a boiler tube containing water. The concentrated energy boils the water to produce high-pressured steam which can be used in place of natural gas. Enclosing the system inside a glasshouse structure protects the solar collectors from the elements and reduces operation and maintenance costs.
Turnbull, who also serves as non-executive chairman of Fortescue Future Industries, said GlassPoint’s technology is ideally suited for use in heavy industry, like mining and manufacturing, which are increasingly seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions and achieve net-zero targets.
“The world can’t meet its net-zero pledges unless industrial players make enormous leaps in decarbonizing operations,” he said. “Consider that it’s common for large industrial plants to require more energy than many cities, much of which goes to thermal processes.
“Solutions like GlassPoint, which help hard-to-abate industries reduce emissions up to 80% and are available today, will play a major role in combating climate change.”
GlassPoint founder and chief executive Rod MacGregor said Turnbull, who is joined on the advisory board by former Alcoa chief operating officer Tomas Sigurdsson, will play a key role in aiding the company bring its solar steam solution to a wide range of heavy industries essential to the energy transition, helping them to cost-effectively reduce carbon emissions and meet net-zero commitments.
“Their expertise and deep understanding of industrial market dynamics and clean energy will be invaluable in serving our mission of decarbonizing process heat at scale,” he said.
Turnbull’s appointment comes after of GlassPoint last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Saudi Arabian Mining Company to develop the world’s largest solar process heat plant at its alumina refinery in Ras al Khair.
GlassPoint said when complete, the 1.5 GW facility will help the Saudi mining enterprise achieve its sustainability goals by reducing carbon emissions by more than 600,000 tons annually, or 4% of its overall carbon footprint.
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