Warning: this could be very dangerous for your ass.
If you profit, know that I will charge a penalty of spiritual servitude in certain cases. If you own an oil well or two, and this information comes your way, you don't have to worry about it, unless it makes you more than a million dollars a year, and then I expect a cut of the profits. If you have no idea how to get ahold of me, then I'll likely let you slide. Be aware that I will go through your memories, to see exactly what you knew.
That includes oil companies. For those mentioned above, after 30 years from 1999, no penalties will be charged.
The ones who have the serious need to worry about owing me spiritual servitude would be those fools who bought at least a part of one or more closed down oil wells, with the intention of reopening them based on my proposed modifications, without cutting me in for 10 percent of the profits. I will not be lenient with your lame ass, be rest assured...
Currently, oil wells use one of three methods of pumping crude oil. These are electric, natural gas, and oil fueled pumps which are fueled directly from the well. (This ignores advanced recovery techniques such as brine pumping, but the improvement works for those techniques as well). The latter method is not in widespread use because of government pollution regulations, fuel inefficiency, and high maintenance costs and requirements.
The modification is an upgrade to use a steam powered pump, powered by electricity or natural gas or other means, and augmented with passive solar power.
The concept of passive solar power is a proven technology, gone into in vast detail in the book "Passive Solar Design".
Let's say that all current oil well pumps were steam pumps, where natural gas or electricity heated water to steam to drive the pump. This would actually be a slight to moderate improvement over existing methods, in and of itself, in terms of efficiency, because the Stirling cycle engine (steam engine / steam pump) is the most efficient means known to convert heat into mechanical energy.
But this small efficiency improvement is not the heart of the proposed modification.
The basic concept of the improvement is to use fuel or electricity to raise the water temperature at 160 to 200 degrees to 212 degrees (the boiling point / steam) or more, instead of using it to heat water from 80 to 100 degrees to 212 degrees.
When the steam drives the pump, it's heat is converted to mechanical energy, and the temperature of the steam falls from 212 degrees to 80 to 100 degrees in the process.
Normally, to just use fuel to bring the water temperature back to boiling is to raise the water temperature from 90 degrees back to 212 degrees, a temperature increase requirement of 122 degrees.
This improvement uses a passive solar heat generation and storage layout to raise the water temperature from the 90 degrees condenser temperature 180 degrees. Then, fuel or electricity only needs to be used to raise the temperature from 180 to 212 degrees, a temperature increase requirement of only 32 degrees.
Do the math: use fuel to increase water temperature 32 degrees, or use fuel to increase the water temperature 122 degrees. This works out to a savings of 3.8125, or about 1/4 as much energy as it would take to raise the water temperature 122 degrees. At the lower latitudes of Texas, Oklahoma, and California, it works out closer to 1/5 as much energy.
I've been around in Texas and Oklahoma, and I never witnessed any passive solar installations in operation. I rode a bicycle through the Oklahoma countryside over 50 miles, saw hundreds of oil pumps, but no solar.
The technology is proven, but has never been applied to this type of application. It gives US domestic oil producers a competitive advantage, because it makes transportation costs more of an issue in the total price of fuel. Arabs have to ship crude oil thousands of miles, domestic producers only hundreds of miles.
Let's say we are in Texas. The sun heats stored water to an annual average (including after dark heat storage) of 180 degrees at the latitude of Texas. Of course, one needs to have a sufficient number of black plastic 55 gallon drums or suitable substitute heat storage medium to adequately meet the supply and storage requirements, so that at night in winter, the heat will not fall below 150 to 160 degrees by the time the sun rises again.
That this can be done is more than obvious. ("Passive Solar Design") There is no theory there, only known and proven fact.
One uses the solar constant tables form that book, and with their calculated water flow requirements for the pump's capacity in CFM, calculates the number of drums required.
Then one bulldozes out an appropriately sized area, creating a 5 foot high hill that runs east and west. The south half of the hill is then bulldozed out, and styrofoam panels installed on the back (south facing, east-west running) wall and floor. Then one installs the 55 gallon drums and plastic pipe to connect them.
Then one builds a sparse frame out of wood or steel or aluminum, and covers the entire area with a clear sheet plastic greenhouse. One installs one more sheet plastic greenhouse around the first one, leaving a little air space between the two, and then installs a hard plastic or glass greenhouse around that, to create a triple insulated greenhouse.
For a steam pump that has a 1000 gallon per hour pumping capacity, the pump itself would cost about $2000. The greenhouse and 55 gallon drums would cost about $6000. A failsafe computer monitoring system for the steam pump, that has the capacity to regulate the system and call for human assistance when required, about $200 to $5000, depending on where one acquires it. A high school senior can build that for $200. IBM would likely want $5000.
In other words, this would pay for itself in a single year. Notice, that's 1000 gallons per hour, not 1000 gallons per day.
So, unless the Arabs have taken over all the banks, there is absolutely no problem obtaining the financing to reopen a closed down oil well. The vast majority of US oil wells that have closed (by the thousands) have closed simply because it costs more to pump the oil than the oil can be sold for. Costing $40 to pump $31.50 worth of oil is a recent example that caused an oil well to be shut down. (from NBC News).
Do the math above. Instead of $40, it would cost $8 to $10 to pump that 31.50 worth of oil, after this improvement is installed.
In a worst case scenario, where Texas saw cloud cover for 365 out of 365 days in a given year, with it raining 30 percent of the time, the average water temperature would never fall below 140 degrees, which means that no profit was being made at all the first year, because all the profit had gone to pay the financing on the modification.
After another six months to a year of this total cloud cover, the financing would have been paid, and the well would begin turning a profit.
There is no doubt of this. The technology involved is proven, but no one seems to have noticed its potential in the field of pumping oil until now.
There are some other more sophisticated modifications that apply, such as using a large amount of water as heat storage, and using a much smaller amount of carbon tetrachloride (CT) as the working steam fluid instead of water. Except in midsummer at very low latitudes, the absorbed solar heat cannot boil water, which boils at 100 degrees C.
However, CT (a common non-toxic dry cleaning chemical) boils at 79 degrees C. The heat stored in the water can easily boil CT, and keep it boiling from two to six hours past sundown, given enough water mass. This can obviate the need for fuel entirely, or further reduce its use by another 1/4 to 1/5 over the initial 1/4 to /15 reduction, making the total fuel savings 1/8 to 1/10 what had originally been required.
Many oil well owners might easily choose just to have the pump shut down for two to 6 hours a night, and never spend a single dime on fuel, using pure passive solar power to pump the oil. The CT method allows for this: straight water does not.
There is no better choice for an alternate working fluid, by the way. I researched every chemical known to man, going through each and every one, reading the Merck Chemical Manual (the chemist's bible) from cover to cover, looking for the best alternative. Although some had appreciably lower boiling points, these were either toxic, explosive when exposed to water or air, or degenerated / decomposed over time. (See: 1986 geothermal power plant design) CT is also inexpensive in the small quantities required.
I took this idea to US Senator Grassley's office (R-IA), offering them this golden opportunity to make an immense profit by buying closed down oil wells, but he as yet still hasn't developed the required intelligence to see the need to cut me in for a piece of my own pie... All these spiritual servitude pages apply, I brought a copy of them down there as well, so it isn't as if I didn't point all this out earlier...
Just so you know, I approached Grassley as both a Senator and as a private individual, so there would be nothing illegal in him and his associates dealing with and profiting by my business proposition.
"Snatch the technology from my hand, Grasshopper"