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WindFloat Atlantic – the world’s first semi-submersible floating offshore wind farm – has been online for two years, and it’s far exceeding power output expectations.

The 25 megawatt (MW) WindFloat Atlantic project ended 2022 with an electricity production of 78 gigawatt hours (GWh) – 5% more output than its first year. It supplies power to more than 25,000 households and avoids 33,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Its annual availability was between 93-94%.

The offshore wind farm sits 20 km off the coast of Portugal in the municipality of Viana do Castelo, north of Porto. It’s made up of three 8.4 MW Vestas wind turbines that sit on semi-submersible, three-column floating platforms anchored by chains to the seabed. A 20 km long (12.4 mile long) cable connects it to an onshore substation.

WindFloat Atlantic was connected to the grid at the end of 2019 and commissioned in 2020, and it’s now finished its full second year in operation. It has an operations and maintenance base in the port of Viana do Castelo, where the team receives the wind farm’s information in real time so can address any issues that arise in real time. Onsite intervention can be complex, due to adverse weather and sea conditions in the area where it’s sited.

It’s a joint venture between Spanish renewable company EDPR, global energy firm ENGIE, Spanish energy firm Repsol, and California-headquartered floating offshore wind firm Principle Power.

Principle Power, which also worked on Scotland’s Kincardine, the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm, says on its website that the “WindFloat” technology is compatible with any standard offshore wind turbine and can be deployed in waters deeper than 40 m (131 feet).

So, what makes semi-submersible floating offshore wind unique? Here’s what Principle Power says:

The WindFloat has been developed specifically to achieve exceptional stability performance, while reducing structural weight, and simplifying logistics during installation and operation.

The virtual pitch- and yaw-free performance in the offshore environment allows the use of existing commercial offshore wind turbines, located at one of the columns, with only minor modifications to control software. 

Photo: Principle Power


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Quick Charge Podcast: March 30, 2023

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Quick Charge Podcast: March 30, 2023

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

Stories we discuss in this episode (with links):

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Drop us a line at tips@electrek.co. You can also rate us in Apple Podcasts or recommend us in Overcast to help more people discover the show!

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Tesla is rumored to be planning a US LFP battery cell factory with CATL

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Tesla is rumored to be planning a US LFP battery cell factory with CATL

Tesla is rumored to be planning a new battery factory to produce LFP cells in the US with China’s CATL, the world’s biggest battery manufacturer.

Over the last few years, CEO Elon Musk has said multiple times that Tesla plans to shift more electric cars to LFP batteries in order to overcome nickel and cobalt supply concerns.

Iron phosphate (LFP) batteries, which don’t use nickel or cobalt, are traditionally cheaper and safer, but they offer less energy density, which means less efficiency and a shorter range for electric vehicles.

However, they have improved enough recently that it now makes sense to use cobalt-free batteries in lower-end and shorter-range vehicles. It also frees up the production of battery cells with other, more energy-dense chemistries to produce longer-range vehicles.

The main issue is that LFP battery cell production is currently almost entirely concentrated in China. Therefore, it creates a logistical problem for electric vehicles produced in other markets.

Furthermore, in the US, it creates a problem for automakers trying to take advantage of the new federal tax credit for electric vehicles, which requires that the batteries of electric vehicles be produced in North America in order for buyers to get the full $7,500 credit. It creates a demand to bring LFP production to North America.

Ford has recently announced a plan to partner with CATL, the world’s biggest battery cell manufacturer, to build LFP battery cells at a $3.5 billion factory in Michigan.

Now Tesla is rumored to be doing the same thing. Bloomberg first reported the rumor:

The EV maker discussed plans involving Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. with the White House in recent days, said the people, who asked not to be identified revealing private conversations. Tesla representatives sought clarity on the Inflation Reduction Act rules that the Biden administration is finalizing this week, according to some of the people. Rohan Patel, the company’s senior global director of public policy, was among those involved with the discussions, one of the people said.

The report is light on detail, but it states that Tesla is looking at a similar structure to Ford’s own deal with CATL. Texas has also been rumored to be a possible location for the new factory.

The LFP cells would enable Tesla buyers to get the full tax on the base Model 3, which is about to lose the incentive because its cells currently come from CATL’s Chinese factories.

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Heart Aerospace finds a new partner to develop ES-30 electric plane battery

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Heart Aerospace finds a new partner to develop ES-30 electric plane battery

Swedish electric airplane maker Heart Aerospace is joining forces with BAE Systems to develop a battery system for its ES-30 electric plane.

Heart partners with BAE to develop electric plane battery

Heart Aerospace is paving the way for sustainable electric air travel to become the norm with its leading-edge zero-emission aircraft.

We first covered the company in 2021 after it made waves with its ES-19 electric airplane. The aircraft was designed to carry up to 19 people up to 250 miles (400 km), perfect for short-distance travel.

The innovation was enough to attract an investment from the third largest US air carrier, United Airlines, in July 2021. United committed to purchasing and deploying 100 ES-19 electric aircraft to its fleet as it works to erase emissions from its fleet “without relying on traditional carbon offsets.”

Air Canada, the largest airliner in Canada, invested $5 million into Heart last year in addition to ordering 30 of its newest model, the ES-30.

Heart introduced the ES-30 last year, an electric plane driven by four electric motors and a battery system. The electric aircraft will have a fully-electric zero-emission range of up to 200 km (124 miles) and 30-minute fast charge capabilities. Hybrid reserve turbogenerators allow travel of nearly 500 miles (800 km) at 25 people max.

Heart-electric-plane-battery
Heart Aerospace ES-30 electric plane (Source: Heart Aerospace)

To advance the ES-30 battery system, Heart is partnering with BAE Systems, best known for its leading defense and aerospace solutions. The battery system will be the “first of its kind” for a conventional takeoff and landing regional aircraft, operating with zero emissions and significantly reduced noise.

The collaboration will utilize BAE Systems’ over 25 years of experience electrifying heavy-duty industrial vehicles. Chief operating officer at Heart Aerospace, Sofia Graflund, said:

BAE Systems’ extensive experience in developing batteries for heavy-duty ground applications, and their experience in developing safety critical control systems for aerospace, make them an ideal partner in this important next step for the ES-30 and for the aviation industry.

Heart Aerospace says it already has 230 orders and another 100 options for the ES-30 electric aircraft. In addition, Heart says it has a letter of intent for another 108 planes. The ES-30 is scheduled to enter service in 2028.

Heart Aerospace is aiming to double the all-electric range of its aircraft by the late 2030s with close to 250 miles (400km) range. In addition to offering zero emissions, electric airplanes feature lower costs (electricity compared to jet fuel) and less maintenance due to engine repair.

Electrek’s Take

Although 124 miles may not seem like much, it will be perfect for regional air travel while building a base for the future of zero-emission air travel.

The 30-minute fast charge feature is perfect for turning around flights quickly in between loading passengers and luggage.

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