Here at Innovative Solar Systems, LLC (ISS) we keep a close eye on all the latest news in renewable energy. A recent breakthrough in solar has emerged from a secretive startup backed by Bill Gates. Heliogen, a clean energy company, is using concentrated solar energy to potentially replace fossil fuels used in industrial processes.
Industrial processes like making cement create huge amounts of greenhouse gases, which accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions. Steelmaking and petrochemicals are some of the other industries that have traditionally burned fossil fuels to reach the high temperatures that are required. According to Business Wire “With temperatures from its concentrating solar thermal technology exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius, Heliogen will be able to replace the fuel that generates greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes with solar energy for the first time.”
The problem in the past was concentrated solar couldn’t create temperatures hot enough to make steel and cement: “The cement industry is a particularly bad offender, releasing 2 billion tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually—more than twice as much as the airline industry. Indeed, nine tons of carbon is produced for every 10 tons of cement.” Now with the use of artificial intelligence, it is possible to reach temperatures equal to that of almost a quarter of the surface of the sun. According to CNN, “Heliogen uses computer vision software, automatic edge detection and other sophisticated technology to train a field of mirrors to reflect solar beams to one single spot. ‘If you take a thousand mirrors and have them align exactly to a single point, you can achieve extremely, extremely high temperatures,’ Gross said.” With this new breakthrough, the company is focusing on demonstrating how the system can be used in a large-scale application. Gross, one of the founders of Heliogen, said “The only way to compete is to be extremely clever in how you use your materials. And by using software, we’re able to do that.”
With this new scientific achievement, the future of clean energy is looking bright. Hopefully, in the coming decade, these ideas will be put into practice and help to clean up industries that have yet to be touched by the clean energy movement. If you are interested in learning more about Innovative Solar Systems, LLC or our utility-scale solar farm projects, please call 828-424-7884 or visit innovativesolarsystemsllc.com.