Sunlight Refinery is a turnkey concentrated solar energy system that aims to make carbon-free energy for high-temperature accessible and more cost-effective than fossil fuels for the first time. The technology was first successfully demonstrated in November 2019. It utilises concentrated solar power (CSP) to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Celsius. The advanced computer vision software unique to the Sunlight Refinery precisely aligns an array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy, delivering high-temperature, carbon-free thermal energy.
The baseline system will provide industrial-grade heat that will be capable of replacing fossil fuels in processes including the production of cement, steel, and petrochemicals. Heliogen’s technology will also enable power generation through the addition of a supercritical CO2 turbine and green hydrogen fuel production in combination with an electrolyser.
Heliogen recently closed $83 million in funding, an oversubscribed round that is in addition to $25 million raised in the previous round. Among the new investors in Heliogen are ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel and mining company, Edison International, breakthrough scientific startup-focused venture capital firm Prime Movers Lab, Canada-based privately held venture capital fund Ocgrow Ventures, A.T. Gekko, a private investment group specializing in ESG Venture Capital, private investment partnership of industry-leading families 8090 Partners, Gordon Crawford, and technology, consumer, and media-focused investor Rashaun Williams.
In March 2021, Heliogen and Rio Tinto announced a Memorandum of Understanding under the terms of which Heliogen will deploy its proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California. Heliogen will use heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine’s industrial processes, significantly reducing carbon emissions at the site.
Among Heliogen’s existing investors are leading global figures in the fight against the climate crisis, including Bill Gates, Patrick Soon-Shiong, the Los Angeles-based investor and entrepreneur through his investment firm, Nant Capital, Steve Case through Revolution’s The Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Neotribe Ventures.
“This infusion of new support for Heliogen comes at a time when the paradigm shift toward clean energy is even further accelerated by the new realities the world is facing” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen. “We’re being granted the resources to do more projects that address the most carbon-intensive human activities and work toward our goals of lowering the price and emissions of energy for everyone on the planet. We thank all of our investors for enabling us to pursue our mission and offer the world technology that will allow it to achieve a post-carbon economy.”
This significant investment accelerates Heliogen’s mission to mitigate the climate crisis through rapid deployment of its decarbonisation technology, with funds to be applied towards the development of multiple Sunlight Refinery facilities, initially in the United States and later expanding to other regions with strong solar resources.
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