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DOE SunShot recipient uses solar power to fuel food processing

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Sunvapor and Horizon Nut jointly announced on the eve of Earth Day that they are teaming up to demonstrate new technology that transforms solar energy into heat that can be used for all of the food industry's needs like steam pasteurization, drying, blanching, cleaning, and roasting.

The disruptively low-cost solar thermal collector technology generates industrial process heat cost-competitively with natural gas.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with industry leader Horizon Nut," said Philip Gleckman, Sunvapor's CEO. "The collaboration represents a powerful validation of the need for a cost-effective alternative to fuels for industrial heating," he added.

The consumption of natural gas in California for the food processing industry alone is over 11 TWh per year. That's the energy equivalent of burning 300 million gallons of gasoline each year. The potential carbon emissions reductions are equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road.

"We are very eager to find a renewable alternative to fossil fuels so that we can produce more and save money. Expanding production, which is limited by emissions, is important to the economy of the region which suffers from low employment. We are excited to team with Sunvapor so that we can have a front row seat to this important technology development for our industry," said Andrew Howe, Director of Operations and General Manager of Horizon Nut.

California State Assemblyman Jim Patterson is Vice Chair of the Utilities and Energy Committee, and represents the 23rd district adjacent to Firebaugh and home to many food processors.

"This is exactly the kind of breakthrough we need: technology, once it is mature, that can stand on its own without government subsidies. The opportunity to build a solar steam economy in the region has the potential to create thousands of good jobs and improve the air quality," said Assemblyman Patterson.

The U.S. Department of Energy SunShot Initiative is a collaborative national effort that aggressively drives innovation to make solar energy fully cost-competitive with traditional energy sources before the end of the decade.

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