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

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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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