Solar Thermal Technology for a Green Future
Technology is driving new decarbonization pathways. Heliogen’s next-generation concentrated solar energy systems combine small, precise mirrors and long-duration thermal storage with proven technologies like AI and computer vision to advance industrial sustainability. We’re creating a simple, affordable path to net zero.
How it works
Harnessing the Power of the Sun at Industrial Scale
1. Computer-guided mirrors reflect sunlight to the receiver
As the sun moves, our computer vision system continuously measures the position of each heliostat for highest precision. This allows us to adjust and optimize the field, maximizing the energy collection throughout the day.
2. Receiver absorbs concentrated sunlight
The concentrated sunlight is then absorbed by a receiver at the top of a tower, generating high-temperature heat up to 1,000 °C —more than enough to power many industrial processes.
3. Heat transfers to thermal energy storage for dispatching
Thermal energy from the receiver is directed into a thermal energy storage system. From there, it can be dispatched at a range of temperatures for carbon-free energy when needed, with minimal interruption.
4. Steam on demandHeat can then be converted to steam and supplied directly to the customer’s process, can turn a turbine to produce power, or can be used as feedstock in a solid oxide electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen.
Autonomy & Robotics
High-Performing Smart Systems
Autonomous cleaning in the field
Heliogen’s autonomous vehicle, ChariotAV, drives through the field to clean heliostats. ChariotAV combines sensors, robotics, and autonomous control software to service an entire field of heliostats independently. Like today’s autonomous cars, ChariotAV uses LIDAR, GPS, and cameras to navigate the field. Using AI, ChariotAV will learn how to maneuver through the field, and move from one heliostat to the next, removing dust to keep them operating at peak performance.
By operating at night, ChariotAV will reduce maintenance disruptions during production hours. It minimizes water usage during cleaning and time spent on maintenance, helping to bring down the cost of renewable energy for commercial and industrial applications.
Introducing Chariot AV
State-of-the-art heliostat manufacturing
Located in Long Beach, California, Heliogen’s large-scale, high-volume, automated production line enables high-speed manufacturing of heliostats. Our facility enables a significant cost advantage for heliostat production with controlled manufacturing conditions that output long-lasting, highly reliable, field-ready mirrors.
We manufacture for longevity and reliability in harsh outdoor environments. Environmental and accelerated life testing verify system performance for an expected 30-year life.
Heliogen Heliostat Field - Lancaster CA
Continuous heliostat tracking with AI
Our core technology is the System for Observing Heliostat Orientations while Tracking (SOHOT). Here’s how it works:
- SOHOT cameras installed at the top of the tower measure the color intensity of the sky as reflected in the mirrors.
- By comparing intensities as seen from multiple cameras, the technology calculates the mirror orientation and the direction of the beam, for real-time hyper-accurate tracking.
Continuous adjustments add efficiency
Resilient in all conditions
The system automatically adapts to atmospheric conditions (wind, temp, etc.), reducing maintenance and recalibration.
More efficient field construction
Heliogen’s heliostat tracking system has a built-in closed loop control system that tracks imperfect alignments quickly and adjusts heliostats automatically, eliminating the need for recalibration, saving time, capital, and human effort, and ensuring the heliostat field is always operating at peak performance.
Small Heliostats Maximize Results
Our small, smart heliostats are quickly installed, easy to clean and maintain, and have better optical performance than traditional large heliostats. By tracking the sun, reflecting its energy, and concentrating it onto a receiver, each mirror is built to maximize thermal energy collection.
The Benefits of our Heliostat Design
Heliogen’s smaller heliostats are designed to be easy to manufacture on an assembly line, shipped in a standard crate, and installed quickly without heavy equipment.
Accelerated aging and environmental tests validate heliostat real-world, difficult condition performance by simulating effects of wind, hail, dust, humidity, and freezing temperatures.
High receiver temperatures depend on optical accuracy. Our heliostats are designed to reduce errors in reflection and increase the amount of reflected sunlight to reach hotter temperatures.
Heliogen self-powered heliostats use solar energy. WiFi connects them wirelessly, reducing cabling needs, minimizing installation costs, and simplifying maintenance.
Heliostats In Motion
Our latest heliostats are in use at our demonstration facility in Lancaster, CA, and will be mass-produced at our facility in Long Beach, CA.
The Focal Point for Solar Thermal Energy
The receiver tower absorbs the concentrated sunlight from the heliostat field and generates heat for use. The heat can then be used to produce steam, green hydrogen, or electrical power as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Direct steam generation
Direct Steam Generating Receivers (DSGR) absorb concentrated sunlight and transmit the energy to pressurized water within metal tubes. This brings the water to a boil, generating steam which is transferred to the thermal energy storage system or directly to a customer facility.
DSGR is a low technical risk solution ready for immediate deployment.
Stored steam can be dispatched when needed up to 15 Bar.
Enabling higher temperatures
Heliogen is currently developing and testing a robust particle receiver that will enable the production of electricity and high-temperature industrial process heat. Particles directly absorb solar radiation, achieving rapid heat transfer and high receiver efficiency.
- Solid particles, such as sintered bauxite, are routed into a centrifugal receiver.
- As the receiver turns, the particles absorb concentrated sunlight, heating them to high temperature.
- Hot particles are then transferred into an insulated silo for industrial use and energy storage.
Other receivers in development
Heliogen is continuously developing new ways to meet industrial energy needs. We are working on receivers that will support high temperature processes like calcination.
Thermal energy storage
A major barrier to the widespread adoption of green alternatives is the difficulty at maintaining a steady renewable energy supply.
Heliogen aims to solve the storage challenge by taking full advantage of overgeneration on sunny days, storing heat to use at night or on cloudy days. We use cost-effective materials that sustain key processes during extended hours of operation.
Proven steam generation
Steam accumulators have been used to store industrial heat for over a century. By pairing them with a solar thermal Direct Steam Generating Receiver, the sun’s energy can be stored as steam to serve industrial processes running day or night.
Sustainable, cost-effective materials
Heliogen systems use economical, readily available solids, like ceramic particles, as a storage medium. The particles are directly heated and then gravity-fed into insulated silos for thermal energy storage. With modular design, storage capacity can scale up or down with relative ease.
Taking Renewable Energy a Step Further
At Heliogen, we work with trusted technology providers to combine the best technologies into effective renewable energy systems for industry.
Solid oxide electrolyzers (SOEC) use steam as feedstock to replace more expensive electrical energy with inexpensive thermal energy.