Heliogen, a renewable energy technology company, has begun site preparation and setup for its first full-scale manufacturing facility, which will be located at Douglas Park in East Long Beach, the firm announced Tuesday.
Production lines are slated to come online at the 90,000-square-foot facility in the third quarter of this year.
“We believe our state-of-the-art heliostat manufacturing facility is the world’s first and only purpose-built facility for high-volume heliostat production,” CEO Bill Gross said in a statement.
A heliostat is a device that continually tracks the sun to reflect sunlight to a single point. The Heliogen “sunlight refinery” uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to control thousands of mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a specialized tower, which would produce heat upward of 1,000 degrees centigrade, according to the company’s website.
The heat is transferred to a tightly packed rockbed, where it can be stored and used to generate heat and/or electricity. The energy also could be used to split water and create 100% clean hydrogen.
“Our ability to manufacture Heliogen heliostats in the facility enables a significant cost advantage compared to earlier heliostat production, which was done in the construction field under less controlled conditions,” Gross stated. “Our modular plant design, together with our patented software control system, supports our mission to cost-effectively deliver near 24/7 carbon-free energy in the form of heat, power, or green hydrogen fuel at scale—for the first time in history.”
Infrastructure for the various types of energy produced by the Heliogen system are less expensive to build and maintain than standard solar energy systems, according to the firm. The firm claims its system will produce renewable fuels that are significantly cheaper to produce and distribute by 2030.
Heliogen plans to produce clean energy in areas with a high number of sunny days and transport it around the world.
The Long Beach facility will include assembly lines, an expansive test facility and a rapid development center for the production of heliostats and other components, according to the firm. The heliostats built in Long Beach are expected to be used in Heliogen’s first commercial project in California. Details of the project were not available Tuesday.
Heliogen expects to have more than 250 full-time employees across its California locations by 2025. It is unclear how many employees will work at the Long Beach site, a company spokesperson said Tuesday.
Long Beach is an optimal location for the manufacturing facility because of the skilled labor pool, including U.S. military veterans and nearby colleges and universities, the company stated. The city also is ideal for the easy transportation of finished goods due to its proximity to major highways and the San Pedro Bay ports, according to the announcement.
Over the last decade, Douglas Park has become a hub for tech companies, particularly space firms. Virgin Orbit, Rocket Lab, SpinLaunch, Morf3D and a host of others call the expansive industrial development home.
“With some of the country’s best and brightest talent, key suppliers, and access to an expansive infrastructure and logistics network, Heliogen is confident that Long Beach will emerge as a hub for green energy manufacturing solutions,” Andy Lambert, chief production and supply chain officer, said in the announcement. “Moving ahead with the Long Beach manufacturing facility represents a significant step forward in bringing sustainable energy solutions to heavy industry.”