1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Secretive energy startup backed by Bill Gates achieves solar breakthrough

Discussion in 'Human Affairs, Political Movements and Charities' started by robocop (actually), Nov 19, 2019.

  1. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,856
    Ratings:
    +524
    Religion:
    newly baptized into Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    New York (CNN Business)A secretive startup backed by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough aimed at saving the planet.

    Heliogen, a clean energy company that emerged from stealth mode on Tuesday, said it has discovered a way to use artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to reflect so much sunlight that it generates extreme heat above 1,000 degrees Celsius.

    Essentially, Heliogen created a solar oven — one capable of reaching temperatures that are roughly a quarter of what you'd find on the surface of the sun.

    The breakthrough means that, for the first time, concentrated solar energy can be used to create the extreme heat required to make cement, steel, glass and other industrial processes. In other words, carbon-free sunlight can replace fossil fuels in a heavy carbon-emitting corner of the economy that has been untouched by the clean energy revolution.

    "We are rolling out technology that can beat the price of fossil fuels and also not make the CO2 emissions," Bill Gross, Heliogen's founder and CEO, told CNN Business. "And that's really the holy grail."

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/19/business ... index.html
     
    • Informative Informative x 6
    • Like Like x 2
  2. robocop (actually)

    robocop (actually) Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2013
    Messages:
    2,856
    Ratings:
    +524
    Religion:
    newly baptized into Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
    I'll admit... I feel great about this!
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2009
    Messages:
    24,032
    Ratings:
    +9,077
    Religion:
    Zen Buddhism
    How do they know it works?
     
  4. Heyo

    Heyo Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2019
    Messages:
    428
    Ratings:
    +341
    Religion:
    none
    The only thing that's new about this is that they use optical sensors and "AI" to move the mirrors.
    Unlike what is stated in the article, solar power stations existed for decades that are able to produce temperatures above 5000 degrees C. Something smells fishy.
     
    • Winner Winner x 1
    • Useful Useful x 1
  5. columbus

    columbus Conservative Catholic from Hell

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Messages:
    20,933
    Ratings:
    +13,212
    Religion:
    None
    Because Vista!
    Tom
     
  6. We Never Know

    We Never Know Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2019
    Messages:
    2,575
    Ratings:
    +927
    Religion:
    It exists
    This is a little switch of topic but did you know of these? I hadn't heard of this until last night.

    Since the 1980s, the small coastal plain, some 30 kilometers southwest of the city of Almeria, has developed the largest concentration of greenhouses in the world, covering 26,000 hectares. Several tons of greenhouse vegetables and fruits such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and zucchinis are produced here annually. More than half of the Europe’s demand for fresh fruits and vegetables are grown under the plastic shades, fuelling the province of Almeria's economy by $1.5 billion in annual revenue.......

    Almeria's sea of white-roofed greenhouse is so vast that researchers from the University of Almeria have found that by reflecting sunlight back into the atmosphere, the greenhouses are actually cooling the province. While temperatures in the rest of Spain have climbed at rates above the world average, the local temperature has dropped an average of 0.3 degrees Celsius every 10 years since 1983.

    The Greenhouses of Almeria | Amusing Planet
     
    • Informative Informative x 4
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    38,674
    Ratings:
    +14,819
    Religion:
    Love
    Read the article.
     
  8. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    38,674
    Ratings:
    +14,819
    Religion:
    Love
    That's not what I've read - it's a tenth of that. But if you provide a link to 5000, I'll change my mind.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  9. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    38,674
    Ratings:
    +14,819
    Religion:
    Love
  10. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    26,309
    Ratings:
    +8,516
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    Its great news, and there are other applications for this technology.

    They're going to have trouble getting a patent on it. Actually the first person to do anything like this had a youtube channel. They used a raspberry pie aiming a magnifier to melt things. Their video came out at least 2 years ago. The only difference is this company used a series of reflectors instead of one. There have also been people who've used reflectors to heat boilers. The use of computers may not be enough to establish patents.
     
  11. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    4,666
    Ratings:
    +3,452
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    Bingo! My thoughts exactly. The French had a solar furnace in the Pyrenees in the 1950s that did this (I read about it as a kid) and built a better one a decade later: Odeillo solar furnace - Wikipedia

    What I'm unclear about is why it is better to get high temperatures this way rather than via electric heating, using electricity from solar panels. I can only presume they think they get better efficiency this way.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    38,674
    Ratings:
    +14,819
    Religion:
    Love
    The article answers your question.
     
  13. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    4,666
    Ratings:
    +3,452
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    I don't think so. They talk at length about how previous direct solar heating efforts have had limitations. But nowhere, so far as I can see, do they go through the comparison of creating high temperatures from renewable electricity with direct solar heating of the type they are working on.

    I can see that finding suitably refractory heating elements is an ultimate limitation for electric heating, but they don't talk about that. It looks as if one can get 1500C with existing heating element technology: High Temperature Heating Element Materials for Industrial Furnaces which is in the range they mention. And then there are electric arc furnaces for steelmaking, which use carbon electrodes.

    So it looks to me as if there is something missing from the article in terms of what this technology can do that existing ones cannot.

    Or have I missed something when reading it?
     
  14. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2014
    Messages:
    38,674
    Ratings:
    +14,819
    Religion:
    Love
    That's a good question. I think but won't bet the farm that it's cheaper to use the heat from the process directly rather than having to heat generated by other means indirectly.

    Anyway, I'm interested in seeing how this pans out.
     
  15. A Vestigial Mote

    A Vestigial Mote Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2015
    Messages:
    4,337
    Ratings:
    +2,767
    Religion:
    ?
    I can't think of a reason this wouldn't work - it utilizes the same principles that children use to fry ants with magnifying glasses. On a larger scale (more collected/concentrated rays of light) you just produce more heat. The only hurdle is gathering enough to do the jobs you need to do and getting the pinpoint accuracy needed to line all of the rays up aimed at a focal point.

    Honestly, I thought about a semi-related idea years ago - though I pictured something probably a lot less practical - a nuclear-reactor-style columnar-tower floating on an artificial "island" in the middle of the ocean, with the focusing equipment orbiting the earth in tandem with the "island's" position (geostationary). You then use the same principle as a nuclear reactor with turbines placed up the sides of the tower, and the steam created by the concentrated sunlight mass-boiling the ocean at the base of the column creates upward flow or air/water and spins the turbines. This would have ecological impacts, and in-light of current climate-change concerns, may cause some issues with warming of the atmosphere anyway if done on a large enough scale and harvesting rays of sunlight that would have otherwise missed/dodged the Earth. I honestly have no idea. I'm not a scientist/physicist, so it has always just been a science-fiction-type curiosity of mine.
     
  16. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    4,666
    Ratings:
    +3,452
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    There was once an idea of collecting sunlight in space and beaming down the energy in the form of microwaves to a collector on the surface. I think it went nowhere partly for the reason that if the beam went off-target for any reason you could fry a lot of people very rapidly. I suspect the same would apply to your idea. Good for a sci-fi disaster movie though......;)
     
    • Like Like x 3
  17. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    26,309
    Ratings:
    +8,516
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    How Heliogen Works | Solar Energy News | Bill Gates Solar Company

    What's new is they have a plan to use this old technology to make concrete and steel.

    Also in the future they are working on a system that splits hydrogen. Maybe they mean water? Maybe they mean h2. Anyways they plan to use the high heat to generate hydrogen gas.
     
  18. exchemist

    exchemist Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2018
    Messages:
    4,666
    Ratings:
    +3,452
    Religion:
    RC (culturally at least)
    Yes they must mean water. But that can be done electrolytically too. So the unanswered question is what the advantage is, compared to electrically based alternatives.

    I suspect it must be to do with the temperature limitations of electrical heating elements. Quite tough to get elements that can take 2000C without melting or oxidising, unless you use an arc.
     
  19. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
    Staff Member Premium Member

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2012
    Messages:
    26,309
    Ratings:
    +8,516
    Religion:
    Liberal Christian
    Yes and the popular mechanics page didn't say either.

    They haven't figured out the hydrogen part, apparently. The idea of making concrete and steel with sunlight is quite good. Those are big sources of pollution, so if they can beat the usual method in price then everybody wins.
     
  20. Milton Platt

    Milton Platt Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2015
    Messages:
    6,820
    Ratings:
    +2,584
    Religion:
    Atheist
    The built a prototype plant and tested it.
     
Loading...