To the editor;
Zealots of capitalism were swooning on 19-Nov-19 when the news broke, “A secretive start-up backed by Bill Gates has achieved a solar breakthrough.”
Heliogen has combined artificial intelligence and a field of mirrors to concentrate sunlight to generate temperatures hot enough to manufacture cement, steel, and glass. Renewable energy can now replace fossil fuels in high energy demand, high greenhouse gas-emitting manufacturing sectors of the economy at a lower cost.
Cement, steel, and glass underlie much of our economy, but are responsible for over a fifth of global CO2 emissions.
Beyond cement, steel, and glass, Heliogen’s technology could synthesize carbon-free hydrogen to power trucks and airplanes. Heliogen has systems to store solar energy for rainy days so it is available 24/7.
The technology offers green heat, emits no CO2, and is price-competitive with fossil fuels because, unlike fossil fuels, sunlight is free.
Robert M. Macrae
Environmental Technology Instructor