Building on IDEALAB’s R&D, Bill Gates invested in his second CSP-based start-up after Malta, with Heliogen.
Heliogen, the clean energy company that transforms sunlight to create and replace fossil fuels, announced that it has, for the first time on the market, concentrated solar power with temperatures above 1000 degrees Celsius.
At this temperature, Heliogen can replace the use of fossil fuels in critical industrial processes, including the production of cement, steel and petrochemicals, drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from these activities. This unique scientific achievement was performed at Heliogen’s commercial facility in Lancaster, California.
Heliogen’s mission is to create the The world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels with ultra-high temperature, carbon-free heat from the sunand transforming sunlight into fuels on a large scale, taking an important step towards solving climate change.
Its technology represents a Key technical advancement for concentrated solar thermal energy. Earlier commercial CSP systems were designed to achieve temperatures as low as 565 ° C, which is useful for power generation, but insufficient for many industrial processes. Many of these processes require much higher temperatures, which are traditionally achieved by burning fossil fuels.
The potential impact of Heliogen’s proprietary technology is huge. With these temperatures above 1000 ° C, Heliogen will for the first time be able to substitute solar energy for the fuel which for the first time generates greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes. For example, cement production – one of the industrial processes well suited to Heliogen technology – alone accounts for over 7% of global CO2 emissions.
In addition, Heliogen’s technology roadmap predicts temperatures of up to 1,500 ° C. At this temperature, Heliogen can separate CO2 and water to produce 100% fossil-free fuels like hydrogen or syngas.
Heliogen is able to achieve these revolutionary temperatures thanks to its technology which exclusively uses advanced computer vision software to align with great precision a wide range of mirrors to reflect sunlight on a single target. The founder and CEO of the company is Bill Gross, a longtime entrepreneur and founder of Idealab. Heliogen’s team includes scientists and engineers from Caltech, MIT, and other leading institutions, and is based in Pasadena, California.
“The world has a limited window to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissionsSaid Bill Gross, CEO and Founder of Heliogen, and Founder and Chairman of Idealab. “We have made great strides in deploying clean energy in our electrical system. But electricity represents less than a quarter of global energy demand. Heliogen represents a technological leap forward by meeting the remaining 75% of energy demand: the use of fossil fuels for industrial processes and transportation. With very high temperature, low cost process heat, we have the opportunity to make a significant contribution to solving the climate crisis. “
Today, industrial processes such as those used to make cement, steel and other materials are responsible for more than a fifth of all emissions. These materials are everywhere in our lives, but we don’t have any proven advancements that give us affordable versions with zero emissions. If we are to achieve zero carbon emissions overall, we have a lot to invent. I am happy to have been one of the first to support Bill Gross’s innovative concentrating solar technology. Its ability to reach the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuels.
More information: heliogen.com/