Heliogen Receives $4.1M Federal Grant to Accelerate Development of Solar Thermal Power Technology

Pasadena-based solar thermal company Heliogen Inc. announced Oct. 24 that it will receive a $4.1 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Solar Energy Technologies to accelerate the large-scale development and deployment of its technology.

Heliogen has been developing technologies that utilize solar energy to heat industrial materials used in manufacturing processes, providing an alternative to carbon-based fuels. Specifically, Heliogen’s device starts with a set of mirrors aligned to track the sun, which then concentrates the sun’s energy into a nearby thermal tower, which is used to heat industrial materials.

For this DOE grant, the concentrated solar energy generated by Heliogen will be used to heat the limestone to nearly 1,750 degrees Fahrenheit, enough to make the limestone used to make cement. The goal is to develop and deploy a viable alternative to carbon-based cement production methods.

According to the announcement, energy-intensive cement production accounts for about 7% of global carbon dioxide emissions, while more than 80% of the energy in cement production is used for calcination.

While it won’t make cement production completely CO2-free, Heliogen’s technology is designed to remove “most” of the carbon emissions from cement manufacturing, the announcement said.

Paul Gauche, executive vice president of engineering at Heliogen, made the announcement.

“This project is an important step in our mission to decarbonize heavy industries such as cement production, which is critical to meeting global greenhouse gas emissions targets,” continued Gauche.

Heliogen is working on the project with the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, the University of Michigan, Martin Marietta Materials Inc. in Raleigh, North Carolina, and CTP Advanced Composites in Lynchburg, Virginia.

News of the October announcement. Nothing was done on the 24th to stem the recent slide in Heliogen shares. That followed an initial surge when Heliogen hit the market in December. After peaking at $16 on the 31st, the stock quickly stabilized in a trading range of $3 to $6 a share, before falling to a trading range of $2 to $3 during last summer’s broader market rout.
Last week, however, Heliogen’s shares fell below the $2 threshold.

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