Heliogen company specializing in the generation of energy from renewable sources, out of the shadows and announced the creation of an innovative technology that allows to reach temperatures of over 1000 degrees Celsius using solar mirrors and artificial intelligence.
In other words, Heliogen created a powerful solar oven that can heat substances to a temperature of approximately a quarter of the temperature on the surface of the Sun.
Achieved breakthrough means that for the first time installation based on concentrated solar energy can be used to obtain materials such as cement, steel, glass and others, whose production requires extreme heat. Thus, solar energy can replace fossil fuels with its huge emissions in the industry, which so far have remained unaffected by the green revolution.
“We implement technology that is able to bring down the price of fossil fuels, it also produces no CO2 emissions, says bill gross, founder and CEO of Heliogen in an interview with CNN Business. It is really the Holy Grail”.
Heliogen engineers are confident that the patented solution will significantly reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of industrial enterprises. For example, according to the International energy Agency, cement production contributes 7% of global CO2 emissions.
Unlike traditional solar energy using photovoltaic panels, the development of Heliogen based on solar concentrators. This technology has long been known: an array of mirrors focuses sunlight in one point to produce a high temperature.
Station systems are already being used today to produce electricity, there are installations producing heat for industry. But the problem is that such systems are not able to produce sufficient temperature for the process of creating cement or steel.
Artificial intelligence will help in solving climate problems
Until now renewable energy has not been used in large-scale industry, especially in cement manufacturing and steel production. All compounded by the fact that the global appetite for these materials is constantly growing. Cement, for example, is used for the manufacture of concrete required for construction of all types of buildings – and their planet is built hundreds of thousands annually. In General, these industries are responsible for more than 20 percent of global emissions, according to EPA statistics.
It is this potential Los Angeles-based startup has attracted interest and investment from bill gates, head of Microsoft and the richest man in the world. Recently his condition has been reached more than 110 billion dollars, and he slipped to the second place of his rival – CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos.
“I’m glad I was one of the first investors of new solar technologies bill gross, gates said. – The possibility of achieving high temperatures required for these processes, is a promising step towards the goal of getting rid of fossil fuels”.
In their work engineers Heliogen sought the aid of artificial intelligence. They use computer vision, automatic detection of corners and other high technologies, allowing to accurately adjust the mirrors to reflect the sunlight.
“If you take a thousand mirrors and aim them precisely at one point, you can achieve very, very high temperatures,” explains gross. According to him, the awareness of breakthrough came on the first day of the launch of a new solar installation.
Ultimately, the technology can be used for industrial production of pure hydrogen. This gas can then be converted into environmentally friendly fuel for cars and airplanes.
“If you can produce hydrogen in a clean way, you game changer, says gross. In the long term, we want to be the green hydrogen company”.
It is small
While Heliogen involved in solar energy. Her main problem – the Sun does not Shine at night and in cloudy weather, but industrial companies need energy around the clock. Heliogen says working on a solution – create a new energokrizisa.
In addition, employees of the company are concentrated on the scaling of technology. For large manufacturers want proof of the viability of the concept. To convince them to move to “pure” heat instead of coal or gas will be possible only if they see the real cost of money, says gross.
At the same time, Heliogen need additional capital and working with investors in a new funding round. The company plans to obtain additional investment and negotiating with potential clients in private.
Heliogen claims that its technology is already more profitable than the use of fossil fuels by the use of AI.
“The only way to compete is smart to dispose of their materials. And with the help of the software, we can handle it,” concluded gross.