heliogen fast company award

Heliogen Wins 2020 Fast Company World Changing Ideas Award for Its Technology That Replaces Fossil Fuels With Sunlight

The company wins Energy category for its computer vision controlled, concentrated solar technology that commercially brings carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to traditionally carbon-intensive industries for the first time.

Heliogen, the clean energy company that is transforming sunlight to replace and create fuels, today announced its selection by Fast Company as a recipient of a 2020 World Changing Ideas award. Winning the Energy category, Heliogen was recognized for its technology that – for the first time commercially – replaces fossil fuels with sunlight in a wide range of industrial processes. 

Heliogen’s technology will deliver carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat to many industrial facilities, including cement factories, minerals processing plants and steel mills. Differentiating Heliogen’s technology from concentrated solar solutions of the past is its unique use of advanced computer vision software to precisely align an array of mirrors to reflect sunlight to a single target with unprecedented accuracy. In November 2019, Heliogen announced that it had achieved a record-breaking 1,000 degrees Celsius at its facility in Lancaster, California.

Heliogen targets sectors of the economy that have been impossible to decarbonize in a commercially viable way, until now. Industry consumes 32 percent of the world’s energy and, in 2018, had the largest increase in emissions in the United States out of any economic sector. The world faces what Bill Gates, an early investor in Heliogen, termed the “75% problem,” referring to the 75 percent of global energy consumed for non-electricity uses. Although nearly all renewable energy innovation to date has only applied to electricity generation, the majority of the industrial sector’s energy use is for process heat, which often requires extremely high temperatures that solar photovoltaics and wind, for example, simply cannot achieve cost-effectively. With Heliogen’s technology, concentrated solar can commercially achieve those temperatures for the first time.

“As Heliogen pursues our vision of decarbonizing industry across the world, our team has achieved a scientific and technical breakthrough,” said Bill Gross, CEO and founder, Heliogen, and founder and chairman, Idealab. “We’re honored that Fast Company has recognized that our idea can fundamentally transform the industrial processes which run the global economy today and for the better. Heliogen’s technology will dramatically slash carbon emissions and reduce costs for the companies whose businesses depend on running these processes – taking a major step toward solving climate change.”

Heliogen’s technology is specifically designed to provide an economic and sustainable solution to the industrial sector. In addition, Heliogen is also focused on making its technology available to transportation, another sector responsible for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. The company’s product roadmap includes extending commercial viability to the creation of 100 percent clean and renewable fuels such as hydrogen or syngas.

World Changing Ideas honors the businesses, policies, projects, and concepts that are actively engaged and deeply committed to flattening the curve when it comes to the climate crisis, social injustice, or economic inequality. A panel of eminent judges selected winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across technology, transportation, education, food, politics, and more.

Heliogen is spotlighted alongside the other recipients of the 2020 World Changing Ideas awards in the May/June issue of Fast Company magazine, which will be on newsstands May 5. For additional information on Heliogen’s technology and its selection, please visit:

About Heliogen

Heliogen is a clean energy company focused on eliminating the need for fossil fuels in all sectors of the economy. Heliogen’s mission is to create the world’s first technology that can commercially replace fossil fuels in industrial processes with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun and to transform sunlight into fuels, including hydrogen, at scale. Heliogen was created at Idealab, the leading technology incubator.

For more information about Heliogen, please visit heliogen.com.

About the World Changing Ideas Awards

World Changing Ideas is one of Fast Company’s major annual awards programs and is focused on social good, seeking to elevate finished products and brave concepts that make the world better. A panel of judges from across sectors choose winners, finalists, and honorable mentions based on feasibility and the potential for impact. With a goal of awarding ingenuity and fostering innovation, Fast Company draws attention to ideas with great potential and helps them expand their reach to inspire more people to start working on solving the problems that affect us all.

Media Contact:
Lisa Nash, Antenna for Heliogen



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