PowerX, a newly formed technology company based in Japan, has unveiled a revolutionary way to bring electricity from offshore windfarms to shore that eliminates the need for export cables. It plans to do so using specially designed vessels loaded with high-capacity batteries
The company was founded by Masahiro Ito, an entrepreneur who founded Yappa, a software company that pioneered the development of digital visualisation technology. It has some big names behind it. Northvolt co-founder and chief operating officer Paolo Cerruti; Caesar Sengupta, former vice president and general manager payments at Google; and Mark Tercek, former chief executive at The Nature Conservancy and a former partner at Goldman Sachs are all non-executive directors.
PowerX highlights the fact that the Japanese Government has set ambitious targets for renewable energy that will require large amounts of power to be generated by offshore windfarms. It also highlights the fact that subsea power cables are expensive to build and maintain and can have an environmental impact.
“In comparison, the Power Transfer Vessel stands out as resilient to natural disasters, requires less time and cost for development, leaves minimal impact on the environment and is able to expand the potential of offshore wind power significantly,” the company said.
In addition to building vessels with massive battery payload, charged by electricity from offshore windfarms, PowerX also plans to build a large-scale battery manufacturing facility.
This giga-scale battery assembly facility would mass-produce batteries for a range of applications including grid storage, electric vehicles and other types of vessels using batteries.
The factory’s planned annual production capacity will be 1 GWh by 2024 and would reach 5 GWh by 2028. Productions lines will be automated to mass-produce at low cost.
The first Power Transfer Vessel, the Power ARK 100, is a 100-TEU stabilised monohull developed by Ad Hoc Marine Designs Ltd that was specially-designed to transfer renewable energy from Japan’s coastal waters.
The company said that, on completion in 2025, it will be capable of carrying 100 ‘grid batteries’ equivalent to 200 MWh of power, which is equivalent to the average electricity consumption by 22,000 Japanese households a day.
The vessel is designed to have a range of 300 km, running on electricity, and will be able to undertake longer, intercontinental power transmission when powered by electricity and sustainable biodiesel fuel.
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