Rio Tinto selects Heliogen’s breakthrough solar technology to provide carbon-free energy to Boron mine

Rio Tinto selects Heliogen’s breakthrough solar technology to provide carbon-free energy to Boron mine

March 24, 2021

LONDON and PASADENA, Calif. – International mining and metals company Rio Tinto and renewable energy technology company Heliogen today announced an agreement to explore the deployment of Heliogen’s breakthrough solar technology at Rio Tinto’s borates mine in Boron, California.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding, Heliogen will deploy its proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI)-powered technology at the Boron operation, where it will use heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy to power the mine’s industrial processes. The two companies will begin detailed planning and securing government permits for the project, with the aim of starting operations from 2022. The companies will also use the Boron installation to begin exploring the potential for deployments of Heliogen’s technology at Rio Tinto’s other operations around the world to supply process heat, which accounted for 14 percent of Scope 1 & 2 emissions from the Group’s managed operations in 2020.

Heliogen’s high-temperature solar technology is designed to cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight for a range of industrial processes, including those used in mining. At Rio Tinto’s Boron mine, the company’s proprietary technology will use AI to control a network of mirrors that concentrate sunlight to capture energy used to make steam. Heliogen’s system will also store the captured energy in the form of heat, allowing it to power nighttime operations and providing the same uninterrupted energy stream offered by legacy fuels.

The Boron operation mines and refines borates into products ranging from fertilizers to construction materials and is producing lithium carbonate from a demonstration plant. The site currently generates steam using a natural gas cogeneration plant and natural gas fired boilers. Heliogen’s installation will supplement these energy sources by generating up to 35,000 pounds per hour of steam to power operations, with the potential to reduce carbon emissions at the Boron site by around 7 percent – equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road.  Rio Tinto will also be assessing the potential for larger scale use of the Heliogen technology at Boron to reduce the site’s carbon footprint by up to 24 percent.

Heliogen’s mission of slashing global carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuels with sunlight, as well as its focus on industrial sectors, made them an ideal partner for Rio Tinto, which is committed to decarbonizing its global operations.

Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Stausholm said: “This partnership with Heliogen has the potential to significantly reduce our emissions at Boron by using this groundbreaking solar technology, and we look forward to exploring opportunities across our global portfolio.

“Addressing climate change effectively will require businesses, governments and society to work together through partnerships like this one, to explore innovative new solutions throughout the entire value chain. Our work with Heliogen is part of Rio Tinto’s commitment to spend approximately $1 billion on emissions reduction initiatives through to 2025 and our commitment to work with world-leading technology providers to achieve this goal.”

Heliogen CEO and Founder Bill Gross said: “Since its founding, Heliogen has been laser-focused on decarbonizing industrial sectors, including mining. As a result, this agreement with Rio Tinto is incredibly gratifying. We’re pleased to find a partner committed to cutting its contributions to climate change. We’re also pleased that Rio Tinto is exploring our technology to play an important role in helping reach its sustainability goals while dramatically reducing its energy costs. More broadly, we’re excited to take this important step as we pursue Heliogen’s goal of avoiding more than 1 gigaton of CO2 emissions – 3 percent of the world’s annual total – from the global economy by turning sunlight into an industrial energy source.”

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto produces high-quality iron ore, copper, aluminium and minerals that have an essential role in enabling the low-carbon transition. We divested the last of our coal businesses in 2018 and no longer extract fossil fuels.

We have publicly acknowledged the reality of climate change for over two decades and have reduced our emissions footprint by over 30 per cent in the decade to 2020.

We have set 2030 targets to reduce our absolute emissions by 15% and our emissions intensity by 30% relative to our 2018 baseline. These targets are consistent with a 45% reduction in absolute emissions, relative to 2010 levels, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pathways to 1.5°C. They are supported by our commitment to spend approximately $1 billion on emissions reduction initiatives over the first five years of the ten-year target period. In 2020 we set new Scope 3 emissions reduction goals to guide our partnership approach across our value chain.

Read more about Our Approach to Climate Change here: www.riotinto.com/invest/reports/climate-change-report

About Heliogen

Heliogen is a renewable energy technology company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy and empowering a sustainable future. The company’s proprietary technology cost-effectively delivers near 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, electricity, and green hydrogen fuel at scale for the first time in history. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator founded by Bill Gross in 1996.

In November 2020, TIME included Heliogen’s HelioHeat technology on its Best Inventions of 2020 list. 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.

Contacts

Rio Tinto Media Relations
Matthew Klar
Matthew.klar@riotinto.com
+1 514 608 4429
Heliogen Media Relations
Leo Traub, Antenna Group for Heliogen
heliogen@antennagroup.com
+ 1 646 883 3562                                              

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TIME Names Heliogen’s HelioHeat™ to List of the Best Inventions of 2020

TIME Names Heliogen’s HelioHeat™ to List of the Best Inventions of 2020

The company’s concentrated solar technology for decarbonizing industrial processes is recognized as one of the year’s top innovations in the Sustainability category

PASADENA, Calif. and NEW YORK, November 19, 2020 – Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to create and replace fuels, today announced the inclusion of its HelioHeat technology in TIME’s Best Inventions of 2020 list. Heliogen’s high-temperature solar technology – for the first time in history – can cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight in a range of industrial processes. HelioHeat, Heliogen’s carbon-free, ultra-high temperature process heat product, was recognized in the Sustainability category for its ability to decarbonize the production of cement, steel, 24/7 electricity, and hydrogen.

Heliogen has developed a concentrated solar solution utilizing unique advanced computer vision software to precisely align an array of mirrors, reflecting sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy. Exactly one year ago, Heliogen announced that it had applied its technology at its Lancaster, California facility to achieve a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius. This advancement enables Heliogen to generate carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat (HelioHeat) that replaces the need for fossil fuel-generated heat in facilities for cement, mining, and other industrial processes. 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.

Bill Gates, an early investor in Heliogen, regards the “75% problem” as one of the world’s most pressing challenges, referring to greenhouse gas emissions created by the 75 percent of global energy consumed for non-electricity uses. Heliogen tackles this challenge head-on, opening many of the leading sources of global emissions to the use of renewable energy for the first time, creating new opportunities for decarbonization.

“Given our mission to empower a sustainable civilization by arresting and reversing climate change, we’re honored for Heliogen’s technology to be recognized by TIME as one of the year’s most significant advances in sustainability,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen. “Decarbonizing the processes that run our world is a pivotal part of our future, and at Heliogen we are inventing and deploying the technologies required to produce 24/7, low-carbon energy. Our ability to do this with unprecedented economics will accelerate the adoption of renewables across industries around the world.”

To assemble the 2020 TIME Best Inventions list, TIME solicited nominations across a variety of categories from editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Each contender was then evaluated on key factors, including originality, effectiveness, ambition and influence. The result: 100 groundbreaking inventions that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.

See the full list here: time.com/bestinventions2020

See the international cover of TIME featuring the 100 Best Inventions of 2020 here: bit.ly/3lJM8ss 

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 TIME

TIME is a global media brand that reaches a combined audience of more than 100 million around the world, including over 40 million digital visitors each month and 45 million social followers. A trusted destination for reporting and insight, TIME’s mission is to tell the stories that matter most, to lead conversations that change the world and to deepen understanding of the ideas and events that define our time. With unparalleled access to the world’s most influential people, the immeasurable trust of consumers globally, an unrivaled power to convene, TIME is one of the world’s most recognizable media brands with renowned franchises that include the TIME 100 Most Influential People, Person of the Year, Firsts, Best Inventions, World’s Greatest Places and premium events including the TIME 100 Summit and Gala, TIME 100 Health Summit, TIME 100 Next and more.

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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

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