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Switzerland Building Floating Labs Powered by Solar Energy


Floating-SolarViteos SA, a Swiss energy company, in conjunction with project development company Nolaris are planning construction of three floating laboratories on the Lake Neuchâtel, to be powered with solar energy.

The laboratories would serve to show how efficient concentrated solar power (when sunlight energy is concentrated onto boilers for steam production which in turn drives steam turbines to produce energy) is, by applying the concept in their floating labs, and investigation if the technology is applicable in regular photovoltaic systems.

Extending about 25 meters each in diameter, the labs would also each have 100 photovoltaic panels arranged at an angle of 45° back-to-back. In order to receive the maximal sunlight, the laboratory ‘islands’ would also rotate 220° in the direction with the best sunlight.

Sited about 150 meters from the shore close to a water purification factory, they will be anchored with concrete blocks to the lake floor. With plans to make the laboratories both sustainable and recyclable for about 25 years, they would in that time supply electric power to the mainland grid by means of inverters from Viteos.

In a bid to help develop renewable energy, Viteos is also on course to spend the equivalent of about $108 million in investments to increase its power output to about 80 million kWh in the next 10 years.

The photovoltaic labs are scheduled to be completed by August 2013.

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