While the week was a struggle for the oil and gas producer’s stock, its United States subsidiary had exciting news.
It’s decided to work with Bill Gates-backed renewable energy technology company Heliogen to create a commercial scale artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled concentrated solar energy system.
The Woodside Petroleum share price slumped 7.59% over the course of this week. It finished Friday’s session at $23.27, 2.8% lower than it ended Thursday’s trade.
For context, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) gained 0.7% over the same week. Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 Energy Index (ASX: XEJ) fell 4.3%.
Let’s take a closer look at the partnership between Heliogen and Woodside.
Woodside share price falls despite Heliogen agreement
As the Woodside share price fell, Heliogen announced the companies will create a 5-megawatt demonstration facility for Heliogen’s “breakthrough technology” in California.
The solar technology aims to provide renewable power nearly 100% of the time.
The facility will use computer vision software to align an array of mirrors. Those mirrors will reflect sunlight into a target atop a solar tower. Therefore, it will be able to provide low-cost storage in the form of high-temperature thermal energy.
Customers of the technology can choose to add additional technology to their systems. Examples of such would be thermal energy storage systems, a turbine for power generation, and electrolysers for green hydrogen production.
Additionally, the companies have agreed to jointly market Heliogen’s technology in the United States and Australia.
Under the marketing agreement, the companies are considering building more renewable energy projects and, potentially, replicating the demonstration facility internationally.
They’re also talking about designing and selling industrial-scale, cost-competitive, integrated renewable energy and hydrogen solutions in the United States.
Excitingly, Woodside would take on the marketing rights for Australia.
What did management say?
Woodside’s CEO Meg O’Neill commented on the company’s collaboration with Heliogen. She said it demonstrated Woodside’s focus on developing innovative technologies for low-cost, lower-carbon energy:
Heliogen’s innovative technology could play a key supporting role in development of Woodside’s zero-carbon hydrogen and ammonia business, which would rely on access to abundant and reliable renewable power.
We are also excited about the marketing rights for Heliogen’s technology in Australia, where our abundant solar energy resources support application of this technology in remote power generation and other industrial processes.
Heliogen CEO and founder Bill Gross also commented:
Heliogen’s AI-enabled concentrated solar technology has the potential to transform heavy industry by turning sunlight into a zero-carbon source of heat, power and hydrogen that is nearly always available… As the energy sector is ripe for applications of green hydrogen fuels and decarbonisation strategies, Woodside is an ideal collaborator for our breakthrough solar technology, which will support the operational characteristics of heavy industry.
The Woodside share price is up less than 1% this year to date, but has climbed 25% over the past 12 months.