It never hurts to have Bill Gates as a financial backer of your start-up, but then you really need to deliver the goods.
The team at Heliogen, a clean energy company backed by Gates, sure looks to have done that, announcing earlier this week that “it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1 000 degrees Celsius”.
Why does that matter? Well, those temperatures, which equate to roughly a quarter of the sun’s surface temperature, mean Heliogen’s ‘solar oven’ can be put to very good use.
Over to CNN:
…for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon-emitting corner of the economy that has been untouched by the clean energy revolution…
Heliogen, which is also backed by billionaire Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, believes the patented technology will be able to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from industry. Cement, for example, accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency.
“Bill [Gross, Heliogen’s founder and CEO] and the team have truly now harnessed the sun,” Soon-Shiong, who also sits on the Heliogen board, told CNN Business. “The potential to humankind is enormous. … The potential to business is unfathomable.”
Sounds like cause for celebration.
Concentrated solar power, when multiple mirrors reflect the sun’s rays towards a single point, has been used before, but the temperatures required to make the likes of cement and steel has never been reached.
Let’s hear from Gates himself:
“I’m pleased to have been an early backer of Bill Gross’s novel solar concentration technology,” Gates said in a statement. “Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel.”
The next part of the battle involves trying to convince industrial companies that are currently using fossil fuels to make the investment required to switch over. You can bet that there will be huge sums of money spent on lobbying from the various industries involved, too, so you’re looking at quite a battle.
Gross says that his company has already made strides with some companies on this front, and expects to announce its first customers soon.
We know Donald Trump hates wind turbines, and thinks that solar power stops the second the sun disappears behind a cloud. Here’s hoping that other power players aren’t as idiotic.
Well done, everyone involved.
[imagesource:here] The renaming of a few towns and airports in South Africa has been on...
[imagesource: Getty] The delicate skin around your eyes is usually the first to show si...
[imagesource: Twitter / @Abramjee] Video footage captured a high-speed car chase along ...
[imagesource:here] On February 10, while dropping off his child at a Hangberg, Hout Bay...
February is a good month to save money. For one, there are fewer days than in a normal ...