"Solar Island" prototype to get completed by year-end

"Solar Island" prototype to get completed by year-end

A prototype of a floating Solar Island, being developed at Ras Al Khaimah for trial, is expected to get completed by the end of this year.

It was in May last year when CSEM, the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology, had signed a contract with the Government of the Emirate of Ras Al- Khaimah (RAK) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), to develop a prototype of a Solar Island.

The aim of the project is to validate a concept for the large-scale transformation of solar energy into hydrogen and electricity at very low cost.

Funded by the RAK government, the $5 million project, equipped with thermal solar panels, will first be tried and tested in the desert before being launched at sea.

The plan is to build large "Solar Islands" floating in the sea. These giant floating islands will be fitted with solar panels, which will convert solar energy into electricity and/or hydrogen.

Philip Mueller, project manager, CSEM-UAE told Emirates Business that the work on the steel torus is finished and the main membrane has been applied. The land-based solar prototype is being constructed at an industrial area in RAK. The prototype will contain a thermal energy reservoir and will provide energy supply throughout the day.

"The prototype is being built with a circular design measuring 85m in diameter. A water-filled channel will enable the outer ring of the prototype island to float," said Mueller. "Plans are already on to start the next phase by the beginning of next year when another version of the prototype will be built on the sea. The peak power will amount to approximately one mega watt, with an average power of 250 kilowatt, while annual energy production is expected to reach 2.2 gigawatt-hours."