Innovation That Matters

Heliogen will deploy its proprietary technology at a mine in Boron, California | Photo source Heliogen

Breakthrough solar technology provides carbon-free energy in mining

Agriculture & Energy

Heliogen’s high-temperature solar technology is designed to cost-effectively replace fossil fuels with sunlight for a range of industrial processes, including those used in mining

Spotted: Renewable energy technology company Heliogen has developed a breakthrough solar technology that will reduce the carbon footprint of industrial sectors, including mining. The (AI)-powered technology uses heat from the sun to generate and store carbon-free energy.

Heliogen will deploy its proprietary technology at a mine in Boron, California. The mine is owned by international mining and metals company Rio Tinto, with whom the company has partnered, in order to explore the deployment of the new technology.

The two companies will begin detailed planning and securing government permits for the project, with the aim of starting operations from 2022. 

“Addressing climate change effectively will require businesses, governments and society to work together through partnerships like this one, to explore innovative new solutions throughout the entire value chain,” says Rio Tinto Chief Executive Jakob Staushol.

The new technology will use AI to control a network of mirrors that concentrate sunlight, to capture the energy used to make steam. Heliogen’s system will also store the captured energy in the form of heat, allowing it to power nighttime operations, thus providing the same continuous energy stream offered by legacy fuels.

The Boron site, which mines and refines borates into products ranging from fertilisers to construction materials, currently generates steam using a natural gas cogeneration plant and natural gas-fired boilers. Heliogen’s installation will supplement these energy sources by generating up to 35,000 pounds per hour of steam to power operations, with the potential to reduce carbon emissions at the Boron site by around 7 per cent – equivalent to taking more than 5,000 cars off the road. 

Written By: Katrina Lane

Explore more: Agriculture & Energy Innovations | Sustainability Innovations

Email: media.enquiries@riotinto.com

Website: riotinto.com

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