Written by: Leonard Parker | solar news | January 11, 2022
Lower cost concentrated solar power (CSP) tech developer Hyperlight Energy launched a $5 million private placement offering in accordance with Regulation Crowdfunding (RegCF) adopted by the Securities and Exchange Commission, through StartEngine.
CSP uses mirrors to capture the sun’s heat which can be used as thermal energy or to create the steam necessary for powering turbines. The projects usually look like massive fields of mirrors with one tall tower in the middle.
Hyperlight takes a different approach. Traditional CSP projects have to operate at massive scale and can use a Golden Gate Bridge’s worth of steel, a scale that can result in just one design flaw destroying a project, leading to the demise of early technology providers in this space. By comparison, Hyperlight doesn’t use massive steel structures to support its mirrors, instead developing the affordable and reliable CSP system Hylux using domestically produced, recyclable plastic.
Hyperlight has developed a system based on its flagship product Hylux, a proprietary solar steam technology produced at the Company’s San Diego-based manufacturing plant out of domestically sourced recyclable plastic.
Hylux can be deployed to decarbonize medium and heavy industrial plants, augment heat production at geothermal power plants and generate steam for enhanced oil recovery. Hyperlight has already announced multiple projects, most recently with Saputo Inc., a global dairy processing company that partnered with Hyperlight for a deployment of Hylux at their Tulare, CA-based cheese factory. Hylux will provide a portion of the heat necessary in the cheesemaking process from a 1.5-acre solar array adjacent to the facility to reduce the factory’s natural gas consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, a feat that previous CSP offerings would’ve been too large and unaffordable to achieve.
The California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded the project a $5.4 million grant to complete the project, which had its groundbreaking ceremony in September 2021.
In addition to support from the CEC, Hyperlight has received funds from the United States Department of Energy Sunshot program and Southern California Gas Company to develop this technology. Following several years of prototyping and development, Hylux was unveiled as a commercial-ready product in conjunction with SoCalGas in 2019, as a part of its emerging technologies efforts.
The inspiration for the technology occurred over a decade ago when John King, CEO and founder of Hyperlight Energy, and his team of researchers were working on a bioenergy project using algae and noticed that the plastic tubes containing the algae were overheating. They developed a reflector system to get rid of the unwanted light, but soon realized they could aim that unwanted light on a target. This event led to what is today the only commercially available plastic solar concentrator: Hylux. Reflects King, “We accidentally invented the lowest cost solar concentrator on Earth.”
After more than a decade of research and development and with more than $6 million in grant funding, Hylux units are assembled in a factory and then hand-clicked into place on site. So far, Hyperlight has demonstrated the technology in multiple successive generations at a fraction of the size of traditional CSP projects, with each demonstration becoming less expensive than the last.
“Today we have a simple, robust, low-cost system that eliminates 90 percent of the expensive steel and concrete of traditional CSP,” said King. “There are fewer moving parts, which means fewer opportunities for failure. If heavy industries are to decarbonize, they need solar heat. Hyperlight offers a commercial-ready, cost-efficient CSP solution in Hylux, the future of affordable solar steam energy.”
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