Tuesday, November 20, 2019, a secretive startup backed by Bill Gates and billionaire Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong, has achieved a solar power breakthrough aimed at saving the planet.
The new clean energy company Heliogen emerged claiming to have discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat that reaches above 1,000 degrees Celsius.
Heliogen essentially created a solar oven that is capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you’d find on the surface of the sun.
The breakthrough means that, 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 the past concentrated solar power has been used to produce solar energy. But the issue has been the concentrated solar power couldn’t reach temperatures hot enough to make cement and steel. Solar companies attacked this temperature problem by adding steel to make the technology stiffer and sturdier.
Heliogen is using computer vision software, automatic edge detection and other sophisticated technology to train a field of mirrors to reflect solar power beams to a single spot.
The new solar company claims it is generating so much heat that its technology could eventually be used to create clean hydrogen at scale. That carbon-free hydrogen could then be turned into fuel for trucks and airplanes.
Bill Gates said; “I’m pleased to have been an early backer of Bill Gross’s novel solar concentration technology. Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for the processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuels.”
Heliogen's biggest challenge will be convincing industrial companies using fossil fuels to make the investment required to go solar.
The company’s founder and CEO Bill gross stated; "The only way to compete is to be extremely clever in how you use your materials. And by using the software, we're able to do that."
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