May 17, 2020

Groundbreaking at the World's Biggest Solar Power Plant

Energy
Solar
Power
plant
Admin
2 min
Top California officials are on hand to break ground at the Blythe Solar Power Project, the largest solar energy plant in the world
Groundbreaking got underway for the Blythe Solar Power Project this past Friday, marking the official construction of what will be the worlds largest s...

Groundbreaking got underway for the Blythe Solar Power Project this past Friday, marking the official construction of what will be the world’s largest solar power plant.  Located in Riverside County, California, the solar power plant will have an unprecedented installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts of solar thermal power.

California Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar both attended the ceremonial groundbreaking, hinting at the significance of such a massive endeavor.  Projects like Blythe and the much discussed Ivanpah solar power project have California set to be the world leader in utilities-scale solar power.

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The project has run into considerable roadblocks on its path toward development, the most notable being the project’s encroachment on the natural habitat of endangered desert tortoise species.  The project’s developers, Solar Millennium responded by funding 8,000 acres of protected land for the tortoises to offset the roughly 7,030 acres to be disturbed by the solar plant’s development.

The Blythe Solar Power Project is to be built in phases, with the first expected to be operational and providing renewable electricity to 300,000 homes by 2013.  While the project ran into some financial difficulties along the way, Governor Jerry Brown assured participants at the Blythe groundbreaking, “We're going to be the world leader in solar energy.  Yes, I vetoed the budget. Yes, we will have fiscal discipline. [But] we can have more wealth if we have the discipline, if we have the imagination and are willing to do the hard work.”

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May 13, 2021

Sakuu Corporation creates 3D printer for EV batteries

electricvehicles
SolidStateBatteries
Renewables
Dominic Ellis
4 min
Sakuu is set to enable high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries for electric vehicles as more investment ploughs into SSB production

Sakuu Corporation has announced a new industrial-grade 3D printer for e-mobility batteries which it claims will unlock the mainstream adoption of electric vehicles.

Offering an industrial scale ‘local’ battery production capability, Sakuu believes the technology will provide increased manufacturer and consumer confidence. Sakuu’s Alpha Platform for its initial hardware offering will be available in Q4.

Backed by Japanese automotive parts supplier to major OEMs, Musashi Seimitsu, Sakuu is set to enable fast and high-volume production of 3D printed solid-state batteries (SSBs) that, compared with lithium-ion batteries, have the same capacity yet are half the size and almost a third lighter.

The company’s KeraCel-branded SSBs will also use around 30%-50% fewer materials – which can be sourced locally – to achieve the same energy levels as lithium-ion options, significantly reducing production costs. Sakuu anticipates the 3D printer’s attributes being easily transferable to a host of different applications in other industry sectors.

"For the e-mobility markets specifically, we believe this to be a landmark achievement, and one that could transform consumer adoption of electric vehicles,” said Robert Bagheri, Founder, CEO and chairman, Sakuu Corporation. “SSBs are a holy grail technology, but they are both very difficult and expensive to make. By harnessing the flexibility and efficiency-enhancing capabilities of our unique and scalable AM process, we’re enabling battery manufacturers and EV companies to overcome these fundamental pain points."

The ability to provide on-demand, localised production will create more efficient manufacturing operations and shorter supply chains, he added.

Sakuu will initially focus on the two-, three- and smaller four-wheel electric vehicle market for whom the company’s SSB proposition delivers an obvious and desirable combination of small form factor, low weight and improved capacity benefits. The agility of Sakuu’s AM process also means that customers can easily switch production to different battery types and sizes, as necessary, for example to achieve double the energy in the same space or the same energy in half the space.

Beyond energy storage, Sakuu’s development of print capability opens complex end device markets previously closed off to current 3D printing platforms. These include active components like sensors and electric motors for aerospace and automotive; power banks and heatsinks for consumer electronics; PH, temperature and pressure sensors within IoT; and pathogen detectors and microfluidic devices for medical, to name a few.

"As a cheaper, faster, local, customisable and more sustainable method of producing SSBs – which as a product deliver much higher performance attributes than currently available alternatives – the potential of our new platform offers tremendous opportunities to users within energy, as well as a multitude of other markets," said Bagheri.

Ongoing research and new funding collaborations

Omega Seiki, a part of Anglian Omega Group of companies, has partnered with New York-based company C4V to introduce SSBs for EVs and the renewable sector in India. As part of an MoU, the two companies are also looking at the manufacturing of SSBs in the country, according to reports.

Solid Power, which produces solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, recently announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future EVs. Solid Power plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company's pilot production line in early 2022.

"Solid-state battery technology is important to the future of electric vehicles, and that's why we're investing directly," said Ted Miller, Ford's manager of Electrification Subsystems and Power Supply Research. "By simplifying the design of solid-state versus lithium-ion batteries, we'll be able to increase vehicle range, improve interior space and cargo volume, deliver lower costs and better value for customers and more efficiently integrate this kind of solid-state battery cell technology into existing lithium-ion cell production processes."

A subsidiary of Vingroup, Vietnam’s largest private company, Vinfast has signed an MoU with SSB manufacturer ProLogium - which picked up a bronze award at the recent Edison Awards - to accelerate commercialisation of batteries for EVs (click here).

Xin Li, Associate Professor of Materials Science, Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, is designing an SSB for ultra-high performance EV applications. The ultimate goal is to design a battery "that outperforms internal combustion engines so electrical vehicles accelerate the transition from fossil-fuel-based energy to renewable energy," according to The Harvard Gazette.

The dramatic increase in EV numbers means that the potential battery market is huge. McKinsey projects that by 2040 battery demand from EVs produced in Europe will reach a total of 1,200GWh per year, which is enough for 80 gigafactories with an average capacity of 15GWh per year.

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