Heliogen, a clean energy-based company has invented a technology to concentrate solar energy to achieve temperatures of more than 1000 degrees celsius. This can be used to create and replace fuels for industrial purposes. At these temperature ranges, Heliogen can replace the fossil fuels used in industries, thus reducing the depletion of fossil fuels and also Carbon Dioxide emissions into the environment. They currently plan to implement this technology in industries producing Cement, petrochemicals, and steel.
The startup aims to invent the world’s first technology to replace fossil fuels using solar power by creating this ultra-high-temperature energy source and hence, taking a major step to reduce climate change.
Heliogen is a startup backed by Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and in his words “If we are going to get to zero carbon emission overall, we have a lot of inventing to do. I’m pleased to be an early backer of Bill Gross’s novel solar concentration technology. Its capacity to reach high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one-day replacing fossil fuels”.
The technology which leads to the production of such a mass amount of heat is explained by Heliogen on their website. They have a patented closed-loop control system (AI) which direct the sunlight on to this AI-controlled array of mirrors. These are called Heliostats. The captured sunlight is equivalent to the light from 1200 suns is then directed to the tower and receiver which converts this into heat energy.
With this technology, according to Heliogen, the historically dirty processes like ore roasting, refining, sintering and calcining which are done in industries like cement, mining and refining can be made greener and avoid polluting the environment and depletion of fossil fuels.
The reason for this being a groundbreaking invention is that the usual solar power produced heat energy can give out only up to 545-degree Celsius of heat. This could only be used in small scale energy production such as electricity for residential and educational institutes. With Artificial Intelligence controlled mirrors, it is possible to get enough energy required for industrial and transportation purposes.
The founder and CEO Bill Gross said “ The world has a limited window to reduce greenhouse emission… with low cost, ultra high temperature processes, we have an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to solving the climate crisis”. He wants to scale up the business as soon as possible to reduce the damage done by burning of fossil fuels. Cement industry is the most suited for Heliogen’s technology because this industry alone contributes to 7% of total carbon dioxide emissions in the world.
Let us hope that such initiatives from entrepreneurs and inventors would save our planet from disasters caused by climate change and leave a beautiful and livable earth for our descendants.