Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2023. 2:03 pm CST.
By Breaking Belize News Staff: Solar-energy company Heliogen, backed by billionaire investors including Bill Gates, has made a breakthrough in renewable energy, claiming to have generated a heat of 1,000 degrees Celsius using an array of mirrors, according to the online technology newsletter, Big Think.
Heliogen’s technology could replace fossil fuels in major industrial processes, with the company targeting plants that manufacture cement, petrochemicals or steel. Such a move could potentially lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change. Repowering cement production alone with solar energy could reduce global carbon dioxide emissions by up to 7%.
Heliogen’s mirrors work by concentrating light towards a point on a liquid-filled tower, creating thermal energy that can fuel a heat engine. Previous solar thermal systems could only reach 565 degrees, not enough power for many industrial operations that relied on burning fossil fuels to achieve the required heat. The company’s system of mirrors is noteworthy for its AI backend, supported by computer vision software that aligns the large mirror array with precision to reflect sunlight onto a target.
Heliogen’s CEO Bill Gross, who also founded Idealab, called the breakthrough “a technological leap forward” that could address about 75% of the world’s energy demand currently not being served by clean energy. Bill Gates, an early backer of the technology, said in a press release that Heliogen’s capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for industrial processes was a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel.
Based in Pasadena, California, Heliogen is staffed by scientists and engineers from top technical institutions such as Caltech and MIT. The company’s investors include billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and venture capital firm Neotribe. The startup now aims to achieve temperatures of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius, necessary to make 100-percent fossil-free fuels such as hydrogen or syngas. “If you can make hydrogen that’s green, that’s a gamechanger,” explained Gross to Big Think. “Long term, we want to be the green hydrogen company.”
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