Nuno Correia, Carla Gomes and team
Floating solar farm mooring system that tracks the sun
Finalist for the European Inventor Award 2022
Solar technologies are increasingly important with the global shift towards cleaner energy. However, researchers in the field are still facing several challenges. Solar farms, for example, may take up land that could be used to grow crops. To overcome this obstacle, scientists have been working on various floating solar farm concepts and testing methods to improve efficiency. Nuno Correia, Carla Gomes and their team have developed a mooring platform that enables panels to track the sun.
Their breakthrough system, called PROTEVS, allows an island with photovoltaic solar panels to rotate while the panels themselves can also be tilted. Thanks to its ability to move, the system can capture up to 40% more energy compared to stationary solutions. PROTEVS is designed for bodies of water that are not exposed to high winds, large waves or strong currents - for example behind dams or in reservoirs or water treatment plants. It is moored with cables and anchors of flexible length, which allow it to move up and down as water levels change. By acting as a windbreak and creating shadows, the system can also lower water temperature and slow evaporation, benefitting aquatic life.
Collaborate to innovate
Correia and Gomes are engineers at the Portuguese Research and Technology Organisation (INEGI). SolarisFloat, a technology provider for solar energy projects, contracted INEGI to develop the system. With commercial roll-out imminent, PROTEVS is well placed for the floating solar market which is projected to grow by 24.53% between 2022 and 2030 and expected to reach EUR 1.95 billion by 2027.
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