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Solar energy

Solar energy for cold climates


An SRB Energy panel: vacuum, heat insulation and driving the turbinecern

On the roof of one of the buildings of Geneva International Airport in Switzerland, 300 thermal solar panels produced by the Spanish company, SRB Energy have been installed. The company was formed to exploit a patent licensed by the European Nuclear Research Organization (Cern). The equipment absorbs sunrays and the heat is used to drive turbines and generate electricity or to run heating or cooling equipment. The inventor is the Italian researcher Cristoforo Benvenuti, who has been working since the 1970s at Cern on vacuum production technologies used in particle accelerators, including the biggest of them all, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The ultra-vacuum system used in the panels allows for high heat insulation within the collector’s tubes and chambers. The researcher also developed ultrafine film surfacing that complement the insulation and the very low heat loss. The technology is indicated for colder and less sunny climates in preference to the ordinary photovoltaic panels.