Speeding the Energy Transition

John King of Hyperlight on Next-Generation CSP Technology | #91

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The downside of solar energy is that it cannot be generated at night.

But John King dreams of solar with an on-off switch. And he’s developed concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP) technology that facilitates the massive geological storage of thermal energy. Thermal energy that can be brought to the surface and used to generate power—any time of the day or night.

John is the CEO of Hyperlight Energy, a technology developer and manufacturer based in San Diego. The company's flagship product is Hylux, a disruptively low-cost CSP system.

On this episode of Clean Power Hour, John joins Tim to discuss Hyperlight’s next-generation CSP technology and explain why he’s focused on decarbonizing oil production—while simultaneously producing renewable electricity.

John shares his vision of repurposing the 100,000 oil wells in California using geological thermal energy storage (GTES) and describes where in the US it makes sense to deploy Hyperlight’s CSP technology.

Listen in for John’s insight on converting combined heat and power (CHP) facilities into solar cogeneration plants and learn how we might make direct air capture a byproduct of a renewable power plant!

Key Takeaways

How John accidentally invented a low-cost CSP reflector system

Where Hyperlight is in the process of bringing its CSP system to market

Hyperlight’s niche in decarbonizing oil production while simultaneously producing renewable electricity

The advantages concentrating solar-thermal power has over photovoltaics

How policy support facilitates increased technical performance and decreased costs for renewables

John’s vision to leverage geological thermal energy storage to generate solar power any time of the day or night

How the 100,000 oil wells in California might be repurposed using GTES (and how much energy that would produce)

Where in the US it makes sense to deploy Hyperlight CSP technology

How we might convert CHP facilities into solar cogeneration plants

The pros and cons of storing solar CSP heat above ground

How Hyperlight’s heat exchangers work with the water that’s available

John’s idea to do DAC as a byproduct of a renewable power plant