In light of climate change, generating CO2-neutral electric energy from sunlight is becoming more important. voestalpine supports this growth with optimally processed materials and innovative ideas.
The sun converts four million tons of hydrogen into helium every second. Even the relatively low amount of solar radiance that reaches the earth exceeds our primary energy consumption by more than 11,000 times. By utilizing this resource to satisfy the global hunger for electricity, we are slowing the growth of global warming.
Up towards the sun
Since the 50s, scientists have been trying to find an economically viable way to convert sunlight into electric energy. With the technological advances achieved in the last decades, photovoltaics (PV) has grown to become a considerable economic and environmental factor—from 2016 to 2017, installed capacity grew by an unbelievable 33%.
Steel for green energy
As of 2017, plants with peak capacity of over 400 gigawatt (GW) were already installed around the world; the most optimistic scenarios foresee reaching a global installation of 1 terawatt (TW) by 2021. Each megawatt calls for around 100 tons of steel—the universal material demonstrates once again in this renewable energy just how diverse it is and how important in slowing the growth of CO2.
The voestalpine Group companies prove their expertise in the solar energy industry with the following systems:
- Perfect systems engineering:
iFIX (voestalpine Automotive Components Schwäbisch Gmünd GmbH & Co. KG): fast, tool-free assembly of PV plants without damaging the roof cladding
Fast Slide: Holder and mounting systems for solar modules from voestalpine Sadef nv save valuable assembly time and use less material than conventional systems.
- Resilient profiles to meet exacting requirements:
voestalpine Meincol S.A. supplies pipes and special profiles to their home market in Brazil—recently 11,000 tons of pipes and special profiles for photovoltaic plants.
- Just-in-time and on site around the world:
Jordan. Profiles for PV plants in the Hashemite Kingdom came from voestalpine Krems GmbH.
Israel/Australia. Sophisticated logistics gets voestalpine products to PV installations all around the world on time: 4,400 tons of profiles via Adriatic ports timed to sync with the construction progress in Israel’s Negev desert; special profiles traveled over 8,200 km from China to Australian Queensland.
The next step: energy storage
The weather and the natural laws governing astronomy prevent solar electricity from being available at constant levels and at all times. Therefore, energy storage is yet another goal on the path to low-CO2 electricity generation. The first projects and ideas already indicate that modern material solutions involving steel are also required here.
- Shelving for used electric vehicle batteries as temporary storage to balance fluctuations in the electricity grid (second-use battery storage).
- Clad pipes and storage for hydrogen produced from CO2-neutral electricity generation.