| Solar Island Prototype To Be Fully Operational by 2009 |
October 26, 2008
The prototype for a Dh18 million "Solar Island" announced in Ras Al
Khaimah in January this year to produce around 250 KW of electricity will
be fully operational by the beginning of 2009, according to the company
managing the project.
The island, 88 metres in diameter, is built inland but floats on water for
cooling purposes, Philippe Mueller, Construction Manager at the Swiss
Centre for Electronics and Micro Technology (CSEM), the builders of the
project, told Emirates Business.
"That is why we are calling it Solar Island. By the beginning of 2009, we
will be able to have a reality test of the plant – the first of its kind
in the world," Mueller said. The project successfully passed simulation
testing last month and all civil works on it are complete, he added.
For the emirate suffering from a shortage in power supply, especially with
new developments springing up, the project is expected to be a welcome
addition to its power infrastructure.
CSEM, which is working in a partnership with the RAK government, is very
ambitious about the solar initiative, which it hopes to spread widely
within the UAE and abroad in the future. Its clients for such plants are
not only governments, but also companies and even individuals, said
A few units of the solar plant might be implemented in RAK's coastal
waters to generate hydrogen, which will be transported to inland plants to
produce electricity, says Mueller. He added that the waters off RAK are
perfect for the project as there are no big waves or hurricanes or other
natural obstacles, making it safe and cheap to maintain the plants. "There
is also sunshine for over 350 days a year."
The electricity produced by Solar Island will be significantly cheaper
than energy produced in traditional plants, but Mueller refused to give an
estimate about the unit cost of electricity until the project is
operational next year.
CSEM UAE is a joint venture between the RAK government and the Swiss
research centre CSEM. The company was officially created in February 2005
and is operational since September of that year. The CSEM UAE Innovation
Centre is working on developing new technologies in the fields of
environmental applications (energy and water), system engineering
(intelligent building, smart wireless networks, electronics) and
mechatronics (automated industrial process, robotics). – Emirates Business 24|7