BrightSource Energy, Inc., a developer of utility scale solar thermal power plants, has been included in the 2011 TR50, Technology Review’s annual list of the world’s most innovative technology companies.

BrightSource was selected for its LPT 550 power tower technology’s ability to efficiently produce clean, low-cost and reliable solar power.

"Bright Source’s proprietary LPT 550 is the most advanced technology in the solar thermal industry," said Israel Kroizer, Chief Operating Officer, BrightSource Energy, and President of BrightSource Industries (Israel) Ltd. "This technology allows us to develop and build the world’s most efficient solar thermal power systems."

In selecting the annual TR50, the editors of Technology Review look for companies with innovations that are likely to have big impacts in the coming years, including disrupting existing markets or creating brand new markets. The list is segmented into the following categories: energy, transportation, computing and communications, web and digital media, materials and biomedicine. The annual list is currently in its second year.

BrightSource’s LPT 550 solar system produces electricity the same way as traditional power plants – by creating high temperature steam to turn a turbine. However, instead of using fossil fuels or nuclear power to create the steam, BrightSource uses proprietary software to control thousands of mirrors to reflect sunlight onto a boiler filled with water that sits atop a tower.

When the sunlight hits the boiler, the water inside is heated and creates high temperature steam. The steam is then piped to a conventional turbine which generates electricity. This fully integrated approach produces low-cost solar power, while providing similar reliability characteristics found in conventional power plants.

The LPT 550 solar system is also designed to minimize the solar plant’s environmental impact, reducing the need for extensive land grading and concrete pads. In order to conserve precious desert water, LPT 550 uses air-cooling to convert the steam back into water, resulting in a 95 percent reduction in water usage compared to conventional wet-cooling in competing technologies. The water is then returned to the boiler in an environmentally-friendly closed process.

Established in 1899, Technology Review is the world’s oldest technology magazine, widely respected among the business and scientific community. Technology Review is published by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and focuses on cutting-edge technology and its path into the mass-market.

BrightSource Energy, Inc. provides clean, reliable and low cost solar energy for utility and industrial companies worldwide. The BrightSource Energy team combines nearly three decades of experience designing, building and operating the world’s largest solar energy plants with world-class project development capabilities. The company now has contracted to sell 2600 megawatts of power to be generated using its proprietary solar thermal technology.

BrightSource Energy’s solar plants are designed to minimize their impact on the environment and help customers reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. Headquartered in Oakland, Calif., BrightSource Energy is a privately held company with operations in the United States, Israel, and Australia.