Cities around the world are constantly needing to build more, but the creation of materials such as cement and steel is a huge contributor to carbon emissions, according tomedia CNET. Heliogen, a bill-based start-up backed by Bill Gates, believes the solution to the problem lies in combining solar energy with artificial intelligence.
The California-based start-up announced its breakthrough in solar power on Monday. The company uses mirrors and artificial intelligence technology to gather sunlight, generating solar energy of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. That’s almost double the 565 degrees Celsius that other commercial companies used to reach, heliogen said.
In other words, Heliogen was able to use solar energy in processes such as steel, cement and petrochemicals, which used to be done only from fossil fuels or natural gas.
“Today, the industrial processes used to make cement, steel and other materials account for more than a fifth of all emissions,” Mr Gates said in a statement on Tuesday. These materials are ubiquitous in our lives, but we don’t have any proven breakthroughs that provide us with a price-free version of zero carbon emissions. If we want to achieve zero carbon emissions as a whole, we have a lot of innovations to achieve. I am delighted to be an early supporter of (Heliogen CEO) Bill Gross’s innovative solar spotlight technology. “
Heliogen uses artificial intelligence, a “advanced computer vision software”, to calibrate the “large array” mirror to reflect sunlight on to a single target. The company added that it would eventually be able to produce 1,500 degrees Celsius of solar energy, which would produce a completely clean hydrogen.
It is unclear when or how much Mr Gates invested in the startup. Heliogen declined to comment, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation did not immediately respond to requests for comment.