EDP’s solar farm will float on Alqueva river with Portuguese cork and recycled plastic

  • ECO News
  • 5 July 2021

Starting this summer, EDP will begin covering four hectares of the Alqueva reservoir with more than 11,000 solar panels.

EDP, Corticeira Amorim and the Spanish company Isigenere have joined in a partnership to create floats that mix cork with recycled polymers for the new solar park that will be built in Alqueva. The goal is to achieve a neutral carbon footprint.

“EDP set the challenge: to create a more sustainable float for the over 11,000 panels and 25,000 floats that make up the structure of the future floating solar park in the Alqueva reservoir. After intense collaboration with Corticeira Amorim and the Spanish manufacturer Isigenere, over a period of more than 12 months, it was possible to develop an innovative material, based on a new cork composite, which will be tested for the first time in a renewable energy production project,” explains the company in a statement.

The new material combines cork with recycled polymers and was developed in the i.Cork factory, the factory and innovation hub of Amorim Cork Composites. The creation process also included Isigenere’s contribution, which develops floating solar systems and created the Isifloating system.

In addition to incorporating cork, the new photovoltaic float made with this new composite will also replace part of the virgin plastic used in conventional floats with recycled plastic. According to EDP, this will enable it to achieve a 30% reduction in its CO2 footprint.

With a €4 million investment and a storage system with batteries, EDP’s new floating solar park will occupy four hectares in the Alqueva reservoir. It is planned that field works will start this summer and that, by the end of this year, it may already produce energy. With an annual production capacity of 7.5 GWh.