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Synhelion acquires Heliokon

| By Gerald Ondrey

Patrick Hilger and Gianluca Ambrosetti (Source: Synhelion)

The solar-fuel pioneer Synhelion SA (Lugano, Switzerland) has acquired Heliokon GmbH (Bergisch Gladbach, Germany), an expert in concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. The acquisition will bring together the two companies’ complementary technologies, allowing Synhelion to offer a complete system for the production of solar fuels.

Synhelion produces sustainable fuels such as gasoline, diesel and kerosene that are compatible with conventional internal combustion engines and jet engines. The production of these synthetic fuels requires energy derived from highly concentrated sunlight. Innovations are needed along the entire value chain to make the complex conversion processes as efficient as possible.

While Synhelion has mainly focused on the solar receiver, thermochemical reactor and thermal-energy storage for the continuous production of solar fuels, Heliokon has worked on highly concentrating mirror systems that enable high process temperatures. The companies’ technologies complement each other perfectly.

As an expert in CSP technology, Heliokon uses concentrating mirrors known as heliostats to focus sunlight onto a solar receiver, warming the heat transfer fluid inside to up to 1,500°C. This area, in which Heliokon holds exclusive know-how, will boost Synhelion’s expertise following the acquisition. As a spin-off of the German Aerospace Center (DLR; Cologne, Germany), Heliokon also has extensive experience in the intelligent and automated control of heliostats.

The acquisition allows Synhelion to expand into Germany, further accelerating the company’s growth. The added competencies will also enable faster scaling of the company’s technology, paving the way to a zero-emission transportation sector where carbon-neutral solar fuels replace fossil fuels.

Gianluca Ambrosetti, CEO of Synhelion, commented: “The Heliokon team brings not only technological expertise in CSP technology but also a great deal of experience in the energy sector, which complements our competencies. Together, we can offer a complete system for the production of clean fuels.”

Patrick Hilger, managing director at Heliokon, added: “The sun is the largest source of energy on Earth, with practically inexhaustible potential. Our technology makes this energy usable for people. By joining forces with Synhelion, we are taking the next step to effectively decarbonize transportation.”