USA: Green Industry Solutions Heliogen Awarded for Unique Solar Technology

Editor: Ahlam Rais

Fast Company has awarded Heliogen with the ‘World Changing Ideas’ award for its technology that is capable of replacing fossil fuels with sunlight. The technology also boasts of commercially bringing carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to traditionally carbon-intensive industries for the first time.

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Heliogen’s Commercial Facility in Lancaster, California.
Heliogen’s Commercial Facility in Lancaster, California.
(Source: Business Wire)

Pasadena/USA – Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to replace and create fuels, has recently announced its selection by Fast Company as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas award. Winning the Energy category, Heliogen was recognised for its technology that – for the first time commercially – replaces fossil fuels with sunlight in a wide range of industrial processes.

Heliogen’s technology will deliver carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to many industrial facilities, including cement factories, minerals processing plants and steel mills. Differentiating Heliogen’s technology from concentrated solar solutions of the past is its unique use of advanced computer vision software to precisely align an array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy. In November 2019, Heliogen announced that it had achieved a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius at its facility in Lancaster, California.

Heliogen targets sectors of the economy that have been impossible to decarbonise in a commercially viable way, until now. The industry consumes 32 per cent of the world’s energy and, in 2018, had the largest increase in emissions in the United States out of any economic sector. The world faces what Bill Gates, an early investor in Heliogen, termed the “75 % problem,” referring to the 75 per cent of global energy consumed for non-electricity uses.

Although nearly all renewable energy innovation to date has only applied to electricity generation, the majority of the industrial sector’s energy use is for process heat, which often requires extremely high temperatures that solar photovoltaics and wind, for example, simply cannot achieve cost-effectively. With Heliogen’s technology, concentrated solar can commercially achieve those temperatures for the first time.

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“As Heliogen pursues our vision of decarbonising the industry across the world, our team has achieved a scientific and technical breakthrough,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen, and founder and chairman, Idealab. “We’re honored that Fast Company has recognised that our idea can fundamentally transform the industrial processes which run the global economy today and for the better. Heliogen’s technology will dramatically slash carbon emissions and reduce costs for the companies whose businesses depend on running these processes – taking a major step toward solving climate change.”

Heliogen’s technology is specifically designed to provide an economic and sustainable solution to the industrial sector. In addition, Heliogen is also focused on making its technology available to transportation, another sector responsible for 14 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s product roadmap includes extending commercial viability to the creation of 100 per cent clean and renewable fuels such as hydrogen or syngas.

World Changing Ideas honors businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to flattening the curve when it comes to climate crisis, social injustice, or economic inequality. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across technology, transportation, education, food, politics, and more.