Path to Zero
Path to Zero
5.17 - Heliogen CEO Christie Obiaya on Decarbonizing Industry with AI-Enhanced Solar Thermal Energy

Tucker continues his conversations from Reuters Energy Transition North American in Houston with the leader of a company on a mission to decarbonize industry to help solve climate change. Christie Obiaya is the CEO of Heliogen, a renewable energy technology company that combines solar thermal technology with artificial intelligence and thermal energy storage.

Before taking on her current role, Obiaya also served as chief financial officer at Heliogen. She was the head of strategy and chief financial officer for Bechtel Energy’s global energy business unit from 2017 to 2021. Obiaya holds a Master of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Heliogen is focused on making clean energy more accessible and economical than fossil fuels.

Among the topics Tucker discusses with Christie Obiaya in this episode:

  • An explanation of how solar thermal energy differs from Photovoltaic solar (PV), the panels that are familiar to most people.
  • Concentrating solar thermal is using a field of mirrors (heliostats) and pointing the sun’s energy to the top the top of a tower, where that energy can be absorbed in different materials that are good at retaining heat.
  • Heliogen’s innovative technology that utilizes Artificial Intelligence to improve the accuracy of mirrors in the solar thermal process to increase energy output.
  • The role of solar thermal energy in producing green hydrogen.
  • Heliogen partnering with Lancaster, California to create the first hydrogen city in the United States.
  • Heliogen achieving 1,000 degrees Celsius with its solar thermal technology, a major breakthrough to produce industrial heat without fossil fuel combustion.

Photo courtesy: Heliogen