The post was originally published in Russian on Alexander’s Telegram channel. Alexander kindly agreed to republish what we think is of great value to our readers.
Production often requires high temperatures. The traditional way to achieve them in a plant is to burn coal or gas. This method is cheap, simple, and effective, but it emits carbon dioxide and spoils the planet. Another heating option is to use electricity, which, let’s say, is drawn from a solar panel. Economically, it’s worse but ecologically better. Well, perhaps, ecologically, it’s also worse, taking into account all the losses.
The American #startupoftheday Heliogen is promoting a third method – direct sun heating. The startup is constructing a system of dozens of lenses and mirrors. This system collects sun rays to the point where the temperature is needed. It’s like children who set fire to paper with a magnifying glass. Well, this method, of course, has a different scale and accuracy. Heliogen boasts that it heats the target to 1000 degrees, and the previous record was less than 600. I think it’s better to get the required temperature rather than the highest one. Well, the PR managers don’t mention this thing – either the technology doesn’t work like that, or the audience is not interested in it; I don’t know.
In rainy weather and at night, the unit still burns a gas, and the pure solar heat can combine with the old and dirty one. But this isn’t a complete replacement. However, Heliogen says about a 60% reduction in emissions when heated 24×7; I don’t understand how this could even be in California, though. They don’t have any batteries or storage devices, and nobody canceled nights.
The startup already has clients, including the most significant industrial companies. So far, it looks more like paid pilots. Heliogen’s revenue last year was $8 mln, less than nothing at the scale of payers like ArcelorMittal and similar corporations. Throughout its history, the startup has attracted $130 mln in investment. Now, it’s in the process of going public through SPAC.
#technology #ipo #us #ecology
Translation : Valeria Stupnikova
Alexander made his career in Russian internet companies including Mail.Ru, Rambler, RBC. From 2016 to 2018 he was Chief Strategy and Analytics officer in Mail.Ru Group. In this position, he worked on M&A, investments, and new project launches. In 2018 he became Deputy CEO in Citymobil, a Russian Uber-like company that was invested by Mail.Ru Group and Sberbank (the biggest Russian bank), then he left the company to launch his own projects. Now Alexander is a co-founder of United Investors – the platform for co-investments in Russian early-stage startups. His blog #startupoftheday (#стартапдня) is one of the most popular blogs about startups in Russia.