As part of its sustainability goal of achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, BASF has installed an innovative proof-of-concept floating solar system at its McIntosh, Alabama manufacturing site. Noria Energy’s first of its kind floating solar system uses renewable energy to power three aerators used to improve the water quality of a scenic pond at the production facility. Floating solar energy capture offers several advantages beyond those of regular land-based solar systems including better operating efficiency due to cooler, more consistent temperatures from the surrounding water.
However, the additional design and construction variables of a floating solar system typically come with a higher capital cost. Previous attempts to lower installation costs have reduced the reliability of the system when exposed to the environment. In particular, exposure to intense sunlight leads to degradation and unpredictable failure of traditional pontoons over time.
BASF’s plastic additives business is collaborating with Noria Energy to address these challenges by developing a highly reliable, pontoon design at a lower cost. The final product leverages BASF’s broad portfolio of light stabilizers, which include UV absorbers and Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers that protect the polymer against degradation of harmful UV light. “The additives and antioxidants used for the pontoons and produced at our McIntosh site improve durability and extend the lifetime of the systems,” said Marcus Pezent, McIntosh Site Director, BASF. “We set out to develop an innovative floating solar system to drastically reduce capital requirements, including logistical costs. Working with BASF was instrumental in getting the system from concept to pilot installation in under a year, and a true testament to BASF’s commitment to their carbon-neutral goals,” said Alex Mayer, Chief Technology Officer at Noria Energy.
The pilot unit was installed with the support of the BASF North America Energy Management team who is already exploring additional locations for large scale floating installations at different BASF manufacturing sites. “These types of game-changing renewable energy initiatives reinforce our commitment to a sustainable future,” added Tejuana Edmond, Vice President, Plastic Additives Americas, BASF. “We will continue to work with our customers to help address their needs and challenges through innovation and sustainable solutions.”