COVID, Climate Change, and the Equitable Energy Transition

COVID, Climate Change, and the Equitable Energy Transition

It’s no secret that we are in truly historic times. As the world battles against health and racial injustice, it also faces serious climate injustice.  

This month alone, record-setting temperatures struck California’s Death Valley and massive wildfires in northern parts of the state have ravaged communities and threatened local wildlife. On the Gulf Coast, Hurricane Laura – one of the fastest-moving hurricanes on record – made landfall last Thursday, leaving widespread power outages and disrupting the nation’s energy-producing region.  

There is no doubt that the severity of these extreme and tragic weather events is being exacerbated by manmade climate change.  

But there is hope.  

People, corporations, and entire governments are talking, mobilizing, and taking action, working to build and enact forward-thinking businesses and policies that ensure an equitable energy transition.  

Major fossil fuel divestments by global hedge funds including recent moves by Storebrand and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with recent market movement in the Dow due to “the long rise of the tech giants and the abrupt collapse of the oil market,” are telltale signs that the clean energy transition is in full swing.   

Bill Gross, our CEO and founder (who was recently named to Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business 2020 list), recently told Barron’s that, “Solving climate change with technology is the single biggest investment opportunity in history.” 

Echoing this sentiment, Bill Gates, a Heliogen investor and backer, recently wrote in Gates Notes:   

The pandemic has also reminded us how much innovation is needed to prevent a climate disaster. The best numbers I have seen estimate that the economic slowdown due to COVID-19 reduced global emissions by around 8 percent. That’s not nothing, but the austerity that got us there obviously isn’t sustainable. If we’re going to address climate change, we need to find new ways to do things that don’t release greenhouse gases, including how we move around.   

The time to act is now, and Heliogen is among the companies and organizations leading the charge in creating breakthrough technology to answer the global call for innovation in the energy sector. 

We are developing and deploying cost-effective solar thermal technologies that eliminate the use of fossil fuels in hard to decarbonize sectors. That same technology will also be capable of creating green fuels at scale such as hydrogen.

As we continue ramping operationally for Heliogen deployments, we are working with companies around the world that are intent on reducing their historic dependence on fossil fuels. 

And we’re not alone.  

Energy Vault, Heliogen’s sister company, is creating renewable energy storage products that are transforming the world’s approach to long duration energy storage. Its first utility-scale, commercial demonstration unit is under final commissioning now in Switzerland and will be connected to the Swiss national grid in order to demonstrate full charging and continuous power discharging capabilities. In June, the World Economic Forum selected Energy Vault as one of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers of 2020. 

Point Load Power, another sister company, is leading the advancement in commercial and industrial rooftop solar with its groundbreaking PV Booster™ solar tracking technology that adds up to 70 percent more revenue per solar panel

And it’s not just companies. It’s also people. 

We’re incredibly inspired by the younger generations stepping into the fight for health, racial, and climate justice. The future belongs to those who create it, and Heliogen is proud to be working towards a just future alongside the Greta Thunbergs and Vanessa Nakates of the world. 

We welcome you to join us in our pursuit of a greener planet.

Heliogen is hiring! Come help us transform sunlight into fuels and empower sustainable civilization.

Industry: Decarbonize your industrial process with pure, abundant sunlight made by Heliogen’s award-winning solar concentration technology. Let us evaluate your facility to determine your potential cost savings and reduction in carbon emissions.

Heliogen CEO Bill Gross Named to Fast Company Most Creative People in Business List for 2020

Heliogen CEO Bill Gross Named to Fast Company Most Creative People in Business List for 2020

Gross recognized as a catalyst for ideas that leverage the power of technology and bridge between vision and execution of the clean energy transition

PASADENA, Calif., August 4, 2020Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, today announced that the company’s CEO and founder Bill Gross was selected by Fast Company for inclusion on the publication’s 11th annual list of Most Creative People in Business. The list honors an influential and diverse group of leaders from a vast range of global industries including technology, design, entertainment, healthcare, media, government, nonprofit, sports, food, and more. Gross joins a list of women and men from such companies as Netflix, Google, and Patagonia, as well as institutions such as Johns Hopkins University.

This news follows Heliogen’s recognition by Fast Company as a 2020 World Changing Idea, winning in the Energy category. In addition to his role at Heliogen, Gross is the founder and chairman of Idealab, the first and longest-running technology incubator. He is also the co-founder of Energy Vault, the creator of products that combine conventional physics with advanced machine vision software to provide utility-scale storage of clean energy, which also won the Energy category in Fast Company’s 2019 list of World Changing Ideas.

Heliogen Demonstration Facility, Lancaster, CA | Artwork by Matt Chinworth, Fast Company

Heliogen’s technology delivers carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from an on-site concentrated solar power array. The system uses advanced computer vision software for unprecedented accuracy, efficiency and commercial scalability. It also replaces greenhouse gas-generating fuels with clean, solar heat in a wide range of industrial processes for the first time. The technology tackles the “75% problem,” which refers to the 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are from non-electricity sources. It provides a path to decarbonization for industries, including cement, mining, steel, and petrochemicals, which require high temperatures in their operations.

In November 2019, Heliogen announced generating solar heat at a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius at its facility in Lancaster, California. In addition to industrial process heat, Heliogen’s technology roadmap calls for temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can perform CO2-splitting and water-splitting to make 100 percent fossil-free fuels such as hydrogen.

“I’m honored to be included by Fast Company in a group with so many distinguished and creative people,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen. “I’ve always believed that entrepreneurship and creativity can unlock human potential and change the world, and, to that end, I’ve spent my professional career creating companies ranging from cleantech and robotics to AI and e-commerce. At a time when we face so many challenges, I hope – and believe – that creatively using transformative technology to face them can truly make the world a better, more sustainable place.”

Gross’s Idealab recently celebrated its 24th anniversary. Since its inception, Idealab has been home to more than 150 companies, created more than 10,000 jobs, and had more than 45 successful IPOs and acquisitions. Gross is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the California Institute of Technology and of the ArtCenter College of Design.

“Each year, we recognize artists and conventionally creative people making their mark on business and corporate executives deploying creativity and innovation to address some of the biggest challenges facing businesses and society,” says Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company. “Individually and collectively, the Most Creative People are an inspiration.

The Most Creative People in Business list recognizes individuals who used their innovative thinking to make an impact on the world beyond financial success. These engineers, executives, choreographers, activists, designers, journalists, and founders have created something new this year within their field that’s never been done before in their industries. Many achieved these societal problem-solving accomplishments in one of the most contentious and erratic times in history. The people selected have all accomplished something truly innovative within the past 12 months or so that is having a measurable effect within their industries and beyond. Together, they represent the future of business.

The complete Most Creative People in Business list can be viewed here and Bill and Heliogen’s entry here.

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About Heliogen

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

In April 2020, Fast Company selected Heliogen as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas Award for its technology. The company won the Energy category.

For more information about Heliogen, please visit heliogen.com or @heliogeninc.

Media Contact:

Leo Traub, Antenna Group for Heliogen

Heliogen@antennagroup.com

646.883.3562

ABOUT FAST COMPANY

Fast Company is the only media brand fully dedicated to the vital intersection of business, innovation, and design, engaging the most influential leaders, companies, and thinkers on the future of business. The editor-in-chief is Stephanie Mehta and the publisher is Amanda Smith. Headquartered in New York City, Fast Company is published by Mansueto Ventures LLC, along with our sister publication, Inc., and can be found online at fastcompany.com.

Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business issue (September 2020) is available online now here and on newsstands beginning August 11, 2020. Join the Most Creative People conversation using #FCMostCreative.

Press Release: Heliogen Wins 2020 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award for Its Technology That Replaces Fossil Fuels With Sunlight

Press Release: Heliogen Wins 2020 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award for Its Technology That Replaces Fossil Fuels With Sunlight


The company wins Energy category for its computer vision controlled, concentrated solar technology that commercially brings carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to traditionally carbon-intensive industries for the first time.

Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to replace and create fuels, today announced its selection by Fast Company as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas award. Winning the Energy category, Heliogen was recognized for its technology that – for the first time commercially – replaces fossil fuels with sunlight in a wide range of industrial processes. 

Heliogen’s technology will deliver carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to many industrial facilities, including cement factories, minerals processing plants and steel mills. Differentiating Heliogen’s technology from concentrated solar solutions of the past is its unique use of advanced computer vision software to precisely align an array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy. In November 2019, Heliogen announced that it had achieved a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius at its facility in Lancaster, California.

Heliogen targets sectors of the economy that have been impossible to decarbonize in a commercially viable way, until now. Industry consumes 32 percent of the world’s energy and, in 2018, had the largest increase in emissions in the United States out of any economic sector. The world faces what Bill Gates, an early investor in Heliogen, termed the “75% problem,” referring to the 75 percent of global energy consumed for non-electricity uses. Although nearly all renewable energy innovation to date has only applied to electricity generation, the majority of the industrial sector’s energy use is for process heat, which often requires extremely high temperatures that solar photovoltaics and wind, for example, simply cannot achieve cost-effectively. With Heliogen’s technology, concentrated solar can commercially achieve those temperatures for the first time.

“As Heliogen pursues our vision of decarbonizing industry across the world, our team has achieved a scientific and technical breakthrough,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen, and founder and chairman, Idealab. “We’re honored that Fast Company has recognized that our idea can fundamentally transform the industrial processes which run the global economy today and for the better. Heliogen’s technology will dramatically slash carbon emissions and reduce costs for the companies whose businesses depend on running these processes – taking a major step toward solving climate change.”

Heliogen’s technology is specifically designed to provide an economic and sustainable solution to the industrial sector. In addition, Heliogen is also focused on making its technology available to transportation, another sector responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s product roadmap includes extending commercial viability to the creation of 100 percent clean and renewable fuels such as hydrogen or syngas.

World Changing Ideas honors the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to flattening the curve when it comes to the climate crisis, social injustice, or economic inequality. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across technology, transportation, education, food, politics, and more.

Heliogen is spotlighted alongside the other recipients of the 2020 World Changing Ideas awards in the May/June issue of Fast Company magazine, which will be on newsstands May 5. For additional information on Heliogen’s technology and its selection, please visit:

About Heliogen

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

For more information about Heliogen, please visit heliogen.com.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards

World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

Media Contact:
Lisa Nash, Antenna for Heliogen

heliogen@antennagroup.com

1.646.883.4296

Press Kit Download

Press Release: Heliogen achieves breakthrough temperatures from concentrated sunlight for industrial processes

Press Release: Heliogen achieves breakthrough temperatures from concentrated sunlight for industrial processes


Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, today announced its launch and that it has – for the first time commercially – concentrated solar energy to exceed temperatures greater than 1,000 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can replace the use of fossil fuels in critical industrial processes, including the production of cement, steel, and petrochemicals, dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions from these activities. This singular scientific achievement was accomplished at Heliogen’s commercial facility in Lancaster, California.

Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels at scale – taking a major step towards solving climate change. Its heat technology represents a key technical breakthrough for concentrated solar thermal. Previous commercial concentrating solar thermal systems have been designed to reach temperatures of up to only 565 degrees Celsius – useful for power generation, but insufficient for many industrial processes. Many of these processes require much higher temperatures, which have traditionally been reached through the burning of fossil fuels.

The potential impact of Heliogen’s patented technology is massive. With temperatures from its concentrating solar thermal technology exceeding 1,000 degrees Celsius, Heliogen will be able to replace the fuel that generates greenhouse gas emissions from industrial processes with solar energy for the first time. For instance, cement production – one of the industrial processes well suited to Heliogen’s technology – alone accounts for more than 7 percent of global CO2 emissions.

In addition to industrial process heat, Heliogen’s technology roadmap calls for temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius. At that temperature, Heliogen can perform CO2-splitting and water-splitting to make 100 percent fossil-free fuels such as hydrogen or syngas.

Heliogen is able to achieve these breakthrough temperatures as a result of its technology that uniquely uses advanced computer vision software to hyper-accurately align a large array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a single target. The firm’s founder and chief executive officer is Bill Gross, a lifelong entrepreneur and founder of Idealab. The Heliogen team includes scientists and engineers from Caltech, MIT, and other leading institutions and is based in Pasadena, California.

Heliogen is working with Parsons Corporation (NYSE: PSN), a global leader in the defense, intelligence, and critical infrastructure markets. Parsons, Heliogen’s strategic partner, has more than a decade of experience with the development and implementation of innovative solar thermal projects. “As a company, we deliver sustainable solutions to our customers and we look forward to bringing Heliogen’s breakthrough technology to scale with our industry partners,” said Michael Chung, Vice President of Energy Solutions, Parsons Corporation.

“The world has a limited window to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Bill Gross, CEO and Founder, Heliogen, and Founder and Chairman, Idealab. “We’ve made great strides in deploying clean energy in our electricity system. But electricity accounts for less than a quarter of global energy demand. Heliogen represents a technological leap forward in addressing the other 75 percent of energy demand: the use of fossil fuels for industrial processes and transportation. With low-cost, ultra-high temperature process heat, we have an opportunity to make meaningful contributions to solving the climate crisis.”

“Today, industrial processes like those used to make cement, steel, and other materials are responsible for more than a fifth of all emissions,” said Bill Gates. “These materials are everywhere in our lives but we don’t have any proven breakthroughs that will give us affordable, zero-carbon versions of them. If we’re going to get to zero-carbon emissions overall, we have a lot of inventing to do. I’m pleased to have been an early backer of Bill Gross’s novel solar concentration technology. Its capacity to achieve the high temperatures required for these processes is a promising development in the quest to one day replace fossil fuel.”

Other investors in Heliogen include venture capital firm Neotribe and Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the Los Angeles-based investor and entrepreneur, through his investment firm, Nant Capital, a division of NantWorks. Neotribe’s founder and managing director, Swaroop ‘Kittu’ Kolluri, and Dr. Soon-Shiong have joined Heliogen’s board of directors.

“For the sake of our future generations we must address the existential danger of climate change with an extreme sense of urgency,” said Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, Chairman and CEO of NantWorks, and member of the board of directors, Heliogen. “I am committed to using my resources to invest in innovative technologies that harness the power of nature and the sun. By significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions and generating a pure source of energy, Heliogen’s brilliant technology will help us achieve this mission and also meaningfully improve the world we leave our children.”

“It’s not hard to improve upon another’s idea, but it takes a truly innovative mind and superhuman effort to create something entirely new and groundbreaking,” said Swaroop ‘Kittu’ Kolluri, Founder of Silicon Valley VC firm Neotribe Ventures, and member of the board of directors, Heliogen. “We enthusiastically support entrepreneurs in their quest to disrupt the status quo by solving complex and deeply impactful problems that result in lasting change. Bill Gross and the team at Heliogen have done exactly that, solve a complete problem in a bold new way that will make the world a better place.”

About Heliogen

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

For more information about Heliogen, please visit heliogen.com.

Media Contact:
Lisa Nash, Antenna for Heliogen

heliogen@antennagroup.com

1.646.883.4296

Press Kit Download

My Mission to Power the Globe with Renewable Energy

My Mission to Power the Globe with Renewable Energy

All my life I have dreamt of finding new, sustainable ways to meet our energy needs. Heliogen is the culmination of my life’s efforts: our goal is to replace and create fuel with pure, concentrated sunlight, allowing us to power the earth with the sun. I am so excited to see my dreams turn in to reality, and to share it with you.

When I witnessed gas rationing during the 1973 Energy Crisis, I began to really understand how important it was to power our planet renewably. So, at 15, I started a solar energy company called Solar Devices where I sold mail order kits and plans to build DIY solar devices in the back of Popular Science and Scientific American magazines. The sales from these kits helped to pay for my tuition at Caltech.

After graduating from Caltech, I became a serial entrepreneur and learned everything I could about starting and growing businesses. My passion for doing that led to me starting Idealab, now the longest-running technology incubator in the United States.

At Idealab, we look for big problems in the world, invent technological solutions, and then build companies to fix them. Over the last 23 years, we have started more than 150 companies in many areas like eCommerce, search, and robotics, but I am most proud of the companies we have built in the cleantech sector. That’s because I believe the single biggest problem in the world today is powering the planet renewably.

Today, 25% of the world’s energy is used as electricity. Fortunately, society has come up with renewable solutions to address this 25% in the form of wind and solar PV, where the cost and scalability concerns have been solved with low-cost PV panels and batteries.

However, 75% of worldwide energy is used as heat made by burning fuels like coal, diesel, and natural gas. A large part of that energy is high-temperature heat used for industrial processes such as making cement, steel, and glass, which are responsible for a significant amount of our carbon emissions. Until now, there have been no affordable zero-carbon technologies to address these emissions.

Heliogen’s Commercial Facility in Lancaster, California

For the first time ever, Heliogen is offering a solution to this difficult problem. We have created a patented, ultra-high concentration solar system that can achieve temperatures up to 1500ºC. At these temperatures, we can provide a carbon-free source of power for industrial processes by replacing fuel with sunlight – taking a major step toward powering the planet renewably.

Heliogen’s ability to commercially replace fossil fuels with sunlight enables us to deliver on our mission (and my dream) of empowering a sustainable civilization—and even more importantly, will help us arrest and reverse climate change, making the world a better place for all, especially our children and grandchildren.

I am incredibly proud of our team at Heliogen. I invite you to share in our journey as we scale to make lasting, positive impacts the world over.