AI-enabled concentrated solar energy startup inks SPAC deal

AI-enabled concentrated solar energy startup inks SPAC deal

Business news |
By Rich Pell

Heliogen’s modular, AI-enabled, concentrated solar power plants with storage are designed to alleviate intermittency issues associated with renewable sources of power generation by flattening the power generation curve. The company’s heliostat layout and control system, which uses AI and an array of 40,000 computer-vision-controlled mirrors, facilitate concentration of the sun’s rays and has the ability to generate temperatures at the point of focus that can exceed 1,000 degrees centigrade.

This heat can then be captured and converted for industrial use, power generation, or to produce green hydrogen fuel, with the goal of providing near-24-hour renewable energy that could replace fossil fuels with concentrated sunlight. The company says that it is commencing the commercialization of its AI-enabled, concentrated solar power modules with internationally recognized customers in the industrial, mining, and energy sectors.

“We are excited to combine with Athena to leverage our collective expertise as we execute our strategy to accelerate Heliogen’s growth and scale our groundbreaking concentrated solar technology for the global energy market,” says Bill Gross, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Heliogen. “I have been building companies nearly my entire life, and the opportunity that Heliogen’s technology represents, to decarbonize power generation, replace other carbon-intensive sources of industrial heat, and contribute to the cost efficient production of alternative fuels such as green hydrogen, is at the head of the pack in terms of its potential to make a positive impact on society.”

The merger transaction with Athena implies a pro forma enterprise value of the combined company of $2 billion and is estimated to provide gross proceeds at closing of up to approximately $415 million to the combined company, including estimated proceeds from a $165 million fully-committed Class A common stock private investment in public equity (PIPE), anchored by existing and new investors including funds and accounts managed by Counterpoint Global (Morgan Stanley), Salient Partners, Saba Capital, and the XCarb Innovation Fund of ArcelorMittal.

Phyllis Newhouse, Chief Executive Officer of Athena says, “We very much look forward to working with Bill and the entire team at Heliogen in the pursuit of a cleaner, decarbonized world. Chairwoman Isabelle Freidheim and I co-founded Athena with a mission to work with disruptive technology companies with the potential to advance industry, and even society, through innovation. Heliogen absolutely meets that standard, not only in terms of solar-power generation, but in its ability to produce other sources of clean energy that may replace fossil fuels. The company’s pioneering use of AI and its scalable approach to project development are exciting innovations, and we couldn’t be more proud to combine with Heliogen as a publicly traded company.”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021. Following the business combination, Athena expects to be renamed “Heliogen, Inc.” and will remain listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the new ticker symbol “HLGN.”


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