Chevron Corp. plans to build a solar steam plant at its Coalinga, Calif., oil field in order to boost production. The project was announced at a recent Coalinga city council meeting.
The installation will collect sunlight from thousands of mirrors installed at a 323-foot tower, partially replacing natural gas-powered production currently in place at the site, according to a Reuters report.
BrightSource Energy is teaming with Chevron on the project. Construction is scheduled to begin this year, and the plant will begin production by the end of 2010.
Unlike at conventional solar plants of this type, which typically drive turbines via steam to create electricity, the steam produced at this project will be injected into the field's oil wells, where it will heat the thick petroleum to encourage better flow, notes a New York Times article.