A California startup has just made major leaps towards solving climate change, and it’s not slowing down

Environmental tech startup Heliogen has achieved a scientific breakthrough, reaching over 1000°C with concentrated solar energy. At this temperature, it can replace fossil fuels in producing cement, steel and petrochemicals. But, the company says it’s not stopping there. Its next goal is 1500°C; then it can split water and carbondioxide, to create gas used to power factories and fuel cars.

Heliogen’s mission is to reduce greenhouse gases as quickly as possible, in an effort to reverse the effects of climate change. In the last 270 years, more than 392 billion metric tons of carbon have been release into the atmostphere due to fossil fuels. Half of that’s happened in the last 35 years, since the mid 1980s. Industrial processes, like making concrete, are responsible for more than a fifth of all emissions. Using solar energy is a step in the right direction.

How do they do it?

Commercial concentrating solar thermal systems have previously been able to generate power, reaching up to 565°C. But industrial processes are burning through fossil fuels at accelerated rates and the climate crisis calls for bigger action. Heliogen reached the breakthrough temperatures because of its tech. It uses advanced computer software to align a large number of mirrors to reflect sunlight towards a specific target. The mirrors act as one, thanks to a closed-loop control system. The light is targeted towards a tower with a receiver, which converts the sunlight into ultra-high temperature heat.

What if we got rid of fossil fuels today?

Sadly, the world isn’t ready to stop using fossil fuels just yet. But, just for a moment forget the administrative headache of switching to entirely renewable energy sources, and take an optimistic view. Pollution would almost entirely end – both because mining would end, and because there would be no way to make non-biodegradable products without petroleum. Public health would improve because of the drop in pollution, meaning Americans would save US$74.6 billion every year that’s currently spent on coal-related health issues. Most importantly, the halt in carbon emissions would put a halt to climate change.

Are you developing a way to alleviate climate change? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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