eco-revolution in industry for the money of Bill Gates

By | November 21, 2019

What if it were possible to replace fossil fuels with sunlight – not only in power plants, but also in industry? That's what the Heliogen engineers have, and Bill Gates says "I like it."

Bill Gates has recently regained the title of richest man on Earth. He likes to share his fortune with inventive people whose innovative projects have the potential to change for the better the world in which we live. He helped fund "unsinkable metal", gave money for a waterless toilet, and now decided to increase the chance of success for Heliogen. Her team has developed a technology that can revolutionize eco-energy and industry.

Most electricity is still from coal-fired power plants, but renewable energy sources are gradually gaining importance. There are several reasons for this: from growing environmental awareness to decreasing costs. The problem that remains largely unresolved is efficiency as well as the use of solar energy in industry. And this is where Heliogen comes into play.

Heliogen uses artificial intelligence to generate sun rays so hot that they melt steel

Perhaps for a kid on exceptionally sunny days you played with a magnifying glass and burned holes in various objects. The technology created by Heliogen works on a similar principle, except that the scale is definitely larger. The basis here is artificial intelligence, which allows you to reflect sunlight more precisely towards a specific target, which in turn allows you to reach higher temperatures.

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How it's working? In the example scenario, Heliogen uses 1,000 mirrors that reflect sunlight in one particular direction. Company representatives argue that at this stage they are able to achieve great results. Properly set mirrors allow you to generate "solar ovens" where the temperature is above 1000 degrees Celsius (and in the future it will be a probe of 1500 degrees). It is more than necessary to melt the salt used to produce the steam required for the operation of electric generators.

The goal: to turn sunlight into fuel. Tool: artificial intelligence

And if it's more than needed, can it be used for another purpose? Yes, and that's the plan. In addition to the efficient production of zero-emission energy, the technology is also to prove itself in many other industrial applications. Among them is the production of clean-burning fuels, such as hydrogen. If its production were to decline in this way, hydrogen-powered cars could finally gain the popularity they deserve. Toyota is the leader in this sector, which recently showed the 2nd generation Mirai.

In short: solar energy is to be more profitable, and sunlight is to become an attractive fuel in industry. With all this, it will not increase carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Currently for 7 percent global cement corresponds to the cement industry … and Heliogen technology can also be used there. Glass factories are another potential place where this solution can be used.

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Heliogen photo

Although all this sounds great, it is not an easy task for Heliogen. If it really wants to lead to eco-revolution, it will have to convince fossil fuel-dependent companies for decades to trust the power of the Sun. Perhaps they will be convinced by the fact that our star does not charge a penny for the energy it shares with us.

This is not the first "green" project supported by Bill Gates (and probably not the last)

As a philanthropist, Bill Gates usually chooses projects that can be described as "green". Earlier this year, he supported, for example, SRMGI (Solar Radiation Managemenet Governance Initiative), which assumed the cooling of our planet's surface by means of particles sprayed by planes. Even earlier, he co-financed the A2F project, whose authors want to remove CO2 from the air and use it to produce environmentally neutral fuel.

Returning to Heliogen, are you supporting this project or are you not predicting greater success? Let me know in the comments.

Source: Gizmodo, Business Wire, Interesting Engineering, The Guardian

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