With the impeachment hearings and the recent Democratic debate eating up most of the bandwidth in the latest news cycle, one of the most exciting events relating to climate change went basically unnoticed.
Heliogen, a clean energy company that has been under wraps until this week, has developed a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect enough sunlight to generate extreme heat. How extreme? 1800 degrees Fahrenheit. Essentially, this solar oven can reach temperatures 25 percent as hot as the surface of the sun.
This could lead our planet to the road of climate recovery.
Software and artificial intelligence are what Heliogen is using to aim the extreme temperatures created by the mirrors into one concentrated spot. This is how they are able to reach such high temperatures. This may change everything about an industry that is currently creating way too much carbon.
The manufacturing of industrial building materials has, until now, relied heavily on fossil fuels. Cement alone accounts for seven percent of global CO2 emissions, according to the International Energy Agency. Worse than that, there was no green alternative, nor was there any talk of anyone addressing the issue. Now things in that carbon-producing market segment are set to change in a big way.
Try to imagine driving past a refinery and not seeing smoke billowing out of smokestacks. This is the degree of change we can look forward to.
But don’t take my word for it—just ask Bill Gates. He and Los Angeles Times owner Patrick Soon-Shiong are two of the major financial backers for Heliogen. When Soon-Schiong was asked by CNN’s Matt Egan about his involvement, he explained, “This is an existential issue for your children, for my children and our grandchildren.”
In Bill Gates’ official statement, he explained that he was “pleased to [be] an early backer…” in this new 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.”
The plan to get these companies on board with a new technology after using the same methods for decades is obviously going to be based on cost. Heliogen feels like if they can make it tempting financially, they can start making meaningful ecological change.
I don’t know about you, but this is the best news I have heard regarding climate change in a very long time. I’m looking forward to seeing how this will develop.