A startup backed by billionaire Microsoft founder, Bill Gates, says a breakthrough in solar technology may revolutionize the way materials like steel and glass are created.
The company, called Heliogen, says it uses artificial intelligence to help operate an array of mirrors capable of reflecting and focusing the sun’s light and creating a type of solar oven.
The system works so well that they report being able to create temperatures of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit – about a quarter of the temperature found on the Sun’s surface.
That extreme heat is a first for solar-powered systems like Heliogens and, according to the company, could be used as an environmentally friendly way of creating crucial materials like cement, glass, and steel.
As noted by CNN, Heliogen’s system could drastically impact global emissions – roughly 7 percent of of C02 released into Earth’s environment are from manufacturing cement alone according to the International Energy Agency.
As reported by CNN, Heliogen’s methods are not only environmentally friendly – they don’t require any fossil fuels – they’re also cost-effective.
‘We are rolling out technology that can beat the price of fossil fuels and also not make the CO2 emissions,’ Bill Gross, Heliogen’s founder and CEO, told CNN Business. ‘And that’s really the holy grail.’
According to Gross, Heliogen has exceeded where other similar ventures have failed by using AI to optimize the system’s performance.
Technology automatically adjusts dozens of mirrors to focus on single point using computer vision and edge detection.
The result is a temperature that is reportedly so hot that Heliogen hopes that it can eventually use the system to create clean hydrogen to be used as a fuel source in planes and trucks.
Heliogen says that it also has a solution for one of the biggest issues with all solar energy – lack of sunlight.
The company’s panels will be able to store energy harvested from the sun for days without sufficient sunlight that it says can be used to power industrial facilities
According to CNN Heliogen, with investments from high-profile players like Bill Gates, is almost ready to scale its technology and announce its first customers.
‘If we go to a cement company and say we’ll give you green heat, no CO2, but we’ll also save you money, then it becomes a no-brainer,’ Gross told CNN.