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BASF and Noria Energy install floating solar system at BASF’s manufacturing site in the United States

  • Proof-of-concept system is fully operational at BASF’s McIntosh, Alabama production facility
  • The new floating solar system designed and constructed by Noria Energy uses plastic additives produced at BASF’s McIntosh site to prevent degradation of pontoons

April, 3, 2023 – 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 floating solar systems 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 reliable, innovative pontoon design at a lower cost, the company says. The final product leverages BASF’s portfolio of light stabilizers - which include UV absorbers and Hindered Amine Light Stabilizers (HALS) – 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”, 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.

BASF is a supplier and manufacturer of plastic additives. Its product portfolio includes additives which provide ease in processing, heat and light resistance to a variety of polymers and applications including molded articles, films, fibers, sheets and extruded profiles. BASF plastic additives is part of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division. The division’s portfolio also includes fuel and lubricant solutions, as well as oilfield chemicals and mining solutions. Customers from a variety of industries including Chemicals, Plastics, Consumer Goods, Energy & Resources and Automotive & Transportation use BASF´s additives.

Noria collaborates with customers to provide adaptive solar and water solutions, empowering organizations and communities to realize their cleantech goals. The product development was funded by an award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office as part of the Small Innovative Projects in Solar (SIPS)2021 Funding Program.

Source: BASF