Heliogen is combining with the SPAC Athena Technology, one of the few so-called blank-check companies led by women. Founded in 2013, Heliogen uses mirrors that are positioned with artificial intelligence to reflect sunlight at a small receiver, generating an intense heat. That sunlight can be collected and processed to generate electricity even when the sun goes down, the company says. The renewable energy can also be used to power industrial processes needed to make materials like steel and to produce hydrogen fuel.
Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC) Athena Technology Acquisition Corporation (Athena) has announced an agreement with Heliogen, a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar power for a business combination in which Athena will probably be renamed Heliogen Inc.
Heliogen develops modular, AI-enabled, concentrated solar power plants that help to alleviate intermittency issues by flattening the power generation curve through the addition of storage in order to increase availability of renewable energy to industry.
The Company’s proprietary heliostat layout and control system 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. Heliogen is commencing the commercialisation of its AI-enabled, concentrated solar power modules with internationally recognised customers in the industrial, mining, and energy sectors.
Athena, led by Chairwoman Isabelle Freidheim and CEO Phyllis Newhouse, is one of the only entirely women-led SPACs, with a diverse, all-female team of managers, advisors and investors. Athena’s mission-driven management team combines extensive investment and operational expertise with a history of founding and scaling companies to positions of industry leadership. Through the Heliogen combination, Athena Chief Executive Officer Phyllis Newhouse is believed to be the first woman of colour in the US to take a company public through a SPAC.
Heliogen’s leadership will remain intact immediately after closing, with Bill Gross continuing as Chief Executive Officer of the combined company. Mr. Gross will work alongside Heliogen’s current executive team, including veterans of SpaceX, McKinsey & Company, Bechtel, Idealab, Deutsche Bank, and NRG Energy. Phyllis Newhouse is anticipated to join the Board of Directors of the combined company, which will include representation from both Heliogen and Athena.
“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” said 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 decarbonise 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. As economies and industries worldwide continue to decarbonise, I believe Heliogen’s AI-enabled technology will play an important role in supporting and making those goals reality.”