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GlassPoint redesign directly heats storage, cutting solar steam cost 30%

December 14, 2023
Glasspoint to build a factory in Saudi Arabia to mass-produce its gigantic lightweight trough solar collectors for industrial steam

In a departure from the original inspiration of agricultural glasshouses, a GlassPoint redesign involves a new lighter weight curved film replacing the “glasshouse” roof over its solar collectors, and now directly heats the thermal energy storage

Press Release:
GlassPoint Unveils Technology Advancements Reducing Solar Steam Costs by 30%

The new “Unify” storage system and redesigned structure enable lower-cost, zero-carbon, 24/7 industrial heat for the only solar steam solution proven at scale

NEW YORK, December 14, 2023 – GlassPoint, the leader in decarbonizing industrial process heat, today unveiled a range of technology advances that drive a 30% reduction in the cost of solar steam. In addition, the company revealed a new Unify storage system which uses direct heat and ternary molten salts to provide around-the-clock steam for industry, eliminating the need for costly heat exchangers and reducing capital expenses. GlassPoint has also reimagined its solar enclosure to feature lighter materials which boost solar efficiency and notably reduce weight, materials, carbon intensity, shading and the levelized cost of energy.

With these enhancements, GlassPoint is significantly improving economics for adopting the only solution proven at scale to help the $444B industrial heat market meet pressing net-zero goals.

Hoop and film structure enclosure reduces weight and shading

GlassPoint systems previously featured agricultural greenhouses which provided protection from harsh remote environments and enabled the use of low-cost, low-weight materials inside. GlassPoint has changed the heavier glass windows found in traditional greenhouses to a protective film, a far lighter material that requires less metal support while also improving air tightness and weatherization, a boon to overall system performance.

GlassPoint also changed the sawtooth-style glass roof structure to a hoop-shaped design, which reduces mirror shading by up to 38% and also enables rows of mirrors to be placed closer together to generate more steam per foot. The new design has operated reliably in pilot and demonstration-scale plants both in California and the Middle East, and will be installed in the company’s upcoming project with Saudi mining champion, Ma’aden.

GlassPoint’s new enclosure design has slashed embodied carbon by 52%, driving a 45% reduction in structural mass required for the enclosure and a 16% reduction in total project cost, all while reducing complexity and the number of parts needed.

Unify Storage System

GlassPoint’s new Unify storage system runs ternary molten salts under direct heat to deliver steam reliably both day and night, essential for modern industry. The design eliminates the need for costly heat exchangers, oil handlers and oil itself, which is common to many solar thermal storage solutions. The Unify system is optimized for 450°C, a sweet spot in thermal storage which halves the amount of storage tanks typically required—and associated capital costs—while enabling the use of lower-cost materials. Unify’s flexible design can incorporate a wide range of energy sources to create and store steam. Together, Unify in combination with GlassPoint’s updated enclosure design achieves a total cost savings of 30%.

“These landmark technological achievements confirm that GlassPoint’s solar steam will not only help industrial companies meet net-zero commitments, but also will boost the bottom line,” said Rod MacGregor, CEO and founder of GlassPoint. “Our cost curve continues to outperform solar PV, while offering greater predictability than legacy fossil fuels. With the top solar thermal engineering team in the industry and a culture of innovation, GlassPoint is uniquely positioned to continue delivering compelling economics which are essential to decarbonize materials essential to the energy transition.”

These advancements come on the heels of several major accomplishments for the company. GlassPoint recently announced a partnership with the Ministry of Investment of Saudi Arabia (MISA) to build a solar manufacturing facility in the Eastern Province. GlassPoint also recently closed an $8M Series A funding round led by 300PPM, following a groundbreaking memorandum of understanding with Ma’aden to develop the world’s largest solar process heat plant and help Saudi Arabia meet sustainability goals.

About GlassPoint
GlassPoint is the leader in decarbonizing the $444B industrial process heat market. By focusing on reducing emissions associated with the production of materials essential to the energy transition, GlassPoint is making a substantial impact on combating climate change. The company builds, owns and operates large-scale solar steam facilities to reduce carbon emissions in hard-to-abate industries such as mining and metals, chemicals, construction materials, desalination and more. GlassPoint is the only solution proven at scale to reduce carbon emissions from industrial process heat and has built more than half of the industrial solar steam capacity in the world. Learn more at glasspoint.com.

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