The company’s concentrated solar power technology for decarbonizing industrial processes is recognized as one of the year’s top innovations in the Sustainability category.
Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, today announced the inclusion of its HelioHeat technology in TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020 list. Heliogen’s high-temperature solar technology – for the first time in history – can cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight in a range of industrial processes. HelioHeat, Heliogen’s carbon-free, ultra-high temperature process heat product, was recognized in the Sustainability category for its ability to decarbonize the production of cement, steel, 24/7 electricity, and hydrogen.
Heliogen has developed a concentrated solar solution utilizing unique advanced computer vision software to precisely align an array of mirrors, reflecting sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy. Exactly one year ago, Heliogen announced that it had applied its technology at its Lancaster, California facility to achieve a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius. This advancement enables Heliogen to generate carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat (HelioHeat) that replaces the need for fossil fuel-generated heat in facilities for cement, mining, and other industrial processes. 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.
Bill Gates, an early investor in Heliogen, regards the “75% problem” as one of the world’s most pressing challenges, referring to greenhouse gas emissions created by the 75 percent of global energy consumed for non-electricity uses. Heliogen tackles this challenge head-on, opening many of the leading sources of global emissions to the use of renewable energy for the first time, creating new opportunities for decarbonization.
“Given our mission to empower a sustainable civilization by arresting and reversing climate change, we’re honored for Heliogen’s technology to be recognized by TIME as one of the year’s most significant advances in sustainability,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen. “Decarbonizing the processes that run our world is a pivotal part of our future, and at Heliogen we are inventing and deploying the technologies required to produce 24/7, low-carbon energy. Our ability to do this with unprecedented economics will accelerate the adoption of renewables across industries around the world.”
To assemble the 2020 TIME Best Inventions list, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories from editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Each contender was then evaluated on key factors, including originality, effectiveness, ambition and influence. The result: 100 groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.