A U.S. clean energy company, funded by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, said Thursday that it has developed a new type of solar technology that uses artificial intelligence to produce temperatures above 1,000 degrees Celsius and can be used for the first time in industries that require high heat from cement, steel and so on.
Clean energy company Heliogen has reportedly created a “solar oven” that will allow it to reach about a quarter of the temperature on the sun’s surface. The breakthrough means that for the first time, solar energy could be used to make cement, steel, glass and other industries that require very high heat. In other words, in the area of heavy carbon emissions that are not touched by clean energy, solar energy may be an alternative to fossil fuels, making the production process more economical and environmentally friendly.
“We’re introducing technologies that are more economical than using fossil fuels and don’t produce carbon dioxide emissions,” Bill Gross, heliogen’s founder and chief executive, told CNN. “
“I am delighted to be an early supporter of Bill Gross’s new solar aggregation technology,” Bill Gates said in a statement. “It has the ability to reach the high temperatures needed in the industrial process and has good prospects for replacing fossil fuels. Bill Gates recently overtook Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, to become the world’s richest man.
Patrick Soon-Shiong, another investor in Heliogen, also said the patented technology would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industry. Cement accounts for 7% of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. “The potential of humanity is huge . . . The potential of business is unfathomable. He also plans to invest more.
One problem with solar technology, however, is that sunlight does not always exist, but industrial companies such as cement manufacturers continue to demand heat. Heliogen said it would rely on solar storage systems to solve the problem. Heliogen will continue to work on how the technology can be used in large-scale scenarios.
Heliogen plans to go public once the large-scale tests are successful, the report said.