May 17, 2020

NextEra Upgrades Altamont Wind Farm for Birds

Energy
Digital
news
Power
Admin
2 min
In an effort to reduce bird deaths, NextEra Energy will upgrade the Altamont Pass wind farm with Siemens turbines
The AltamontPass Wind Farm serves as a doorway to wind energys past. Located just southeast of San Francisco, California, the wind farm is one of the o...

The Altamont Pass Wind Farm serves as a doorway to wind energy’s past.  Located just southeast of San Francisco, California, the wind farm is one of the oldest and largest in North America.  The unique site features wind turbines ranging in age, with the oldest being nearly 30 years old.  The only problem with these aging turbines, apart from the fact that only about half of the 4,000 featured at the farm actually work, is that they tend to kill birds.  The small multiblade turbines are deadly traps that claim the lives of nearly 2,000 raptors each year along with 8,000 other birds and bats.  NextEra Energy, who owns roughly half of the wind turbines at Altamont seeks to address the growing concern over bird deaths by replacing old dangerous turbines with large-scale Siemens turbines with far less chance of maiming flying animals.

NextEra Energy plans on installing around 100 of Siemens’ 430-foot-tall 2.3-megawatt turbines.  The turbines they will be replacing only stood about 100-feet-tall and generated between 50 and 750 kilowatts of electricity.  A single one of the new Siemens turbines provides enough energy to power 600 to 700 homes each year.

"It's almost a complete revolution in the way that you capture the wind," says Anthony Pedroni of NextEra Energy Resources. "The new turbines are 430 feet tall from the base to the tip of the blade, and the higher you go, the faster the wind speeds are."

Doug Bell, manager of the East Bay Regional Park District’s wildlife program says in regard to the bird deaths, "Any way you look at the mortality data, there's been a tremendous impact on birds.  I've found birds sliced in half. You see all kinds of blunt force trauma."

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Some claim that upgrading to newer turbines at Altamont could reduce the bird mortality rate by as much as 80 percent.  One of the main problems with the older turbines is the latticework that comprised the turbine towers.  Raptors used the lattice to perch from and hunt, putting them in dangerous proximity to the spinning turbine blades. 

NextEra’s upgrade is to be carried out in three phases and fully completed by 2015.  The company is also removing 6.5 miles of overhead electrical lines and eight miles of roads to allow the land to return to its natural state.  The project is also creating union construction jobs.  So far, 135 people have been hired for the upgrade. 

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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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