Greenhouse builder KUBO is building a 190-hectare solar greenhouse complex for PDO, Oman’s largest oil producer. Instead of crops, the greenhouses will be containing solar mirrors. The idea is that greenhouses will be protecting the solar collectors from sandstorms.

The special greenhouses use solar energy to generate steam, which is subsequently used to extract oil. The customer, oil producer PDO, has set high demands for the greenhouses. They must be built to last a very long time, be absolutely water and air tight, and capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. ‘We couldn’t use polymers in these greenhouses, for example,’ explained KUBO’s CEO Wouter Kuiper in an interview for the Dutch financial daily newspaper het Financieel Dagblad.

Solar energy plant in the desert

The greenhouses are produced in the Netherlands and shipped to Oman, where they will comprise one of the largest solar energy plants in the world. The complex, which is being built on the outskirts of the Amal oil field in the south of Oman, will span 190 hectares: the size of approximately 350 football fields. The solar plant will be capable of producing more than one gigawatt of solar thermal energy at its peak.

Kubo was involved in the development of the solar greenhouse right from the very beginning. Kuiper: ‘We embarked on the initial designs for the project five years ago. Following a three-year trial in the desert with a positive outcome our customer wanted to set to work immediately.’ Several other Dutch companies will be involved in the realisation of the project. They will be handling such aspects as climate technology and steam conveyor systems.

Source/artist impression: Financieel Dagblad.