Heliogen secures DOE funds for AI-powered solar technology

The Ivanpah Solar Project’s early-generation Ivanpah Solar Project features a solar tower and heliostats. Over 300,000. software-controlled mirrors track and reflect the sun in two dimensions. Image: Dennis Schroeder / NREL

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded $39 million to Heliogen, Inc. to help the California-based company roll out its artificial intelligence-powered sun technology.

It comes on the heels of the DOE’s announcement of the award in November.

Heliogen will construct and operate a supercritical carbon dioxide power cycle (sCO2) that is integrated with thermal energy storage. The heat is provided by concentrated solar thermal energy, which is supplied by an AI-powered Heliostat field. This process will produce higher temperatures than traditional solar, allowing for a more efficient and economical power cycle. Heliogen and the DOE said that it will be used as a test ground for low-cost solar plants.

Heliogen Founder and CEO, Bill Gross said the DOE award “adds momentum to deployment” of the company’s concentrated solar solution for carbon-free energy at scale.”

The DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office supports projects expected to improve the affordability, reliability, and value of solar technologies on the U.S. grid. In February, the department announced it would provide a total of $130 million for as many as 80 projects in this program.