On October 17th, Tamera dedicated the Test Field for a SolarVillage, a model village for testing decentralized solar technology in everyday life. Based on the results, a SolarVillage – self-sufficient in energy and food production – will be built later as the core of a research and training institute. Its inventor, Jürgen Kleinwächter from Lörrach, Germany, said, “Our dream is building the first worldwide Solar University here.”
The poor regions on earth could be the wealthy ones in the future; their richness in sunshine offers them the chance to become independent of petrol and nuclear energy. In the European Union, it is regions like the Alentejo which can become magnets for innovative solar research. This, at least, is what physicist Jürgen Kleinwächter thinks. However, he does not want to compete with the giant sun power station in the Sahara. “Instead of energy monopolies, we are striving for regional autonomy in energy and food supply. With this we can maintain landscapes and create jobs for life to return to the villages.” In Tamera he has found a cooperation partner to test his solar inventions.
It was a joyful weekend with music, theater and speeches. Interested people from the Portuguese neighborhood as well as professionals from Switzerland, Germany, Israel, India and the U.S.A., came to the inauguration of the Test Field on October 17th. The October sun did not keep us waiting. Its rays fell on the different devices and transformed them into heat or steam for cooking, into mechanical energy to pump water, and into electricity.
Barbara Kovats, the coordinator of the SolarVillage team, explained, “We put together all the developments we have made thus far into a model village. A landscape designer and an architect made the plan for a sustainable village. Now, we will live within the system, and in this way improve it on a daily basis and make it ready for use in communities and peace villages in many regions of the world.”
In the Test Field, a fountain adorns the middle of the village. Its water is moved by the “Sunpulse Water,” a solar pump. Beating like a huge heart, it starts a water circulation beginning at a rainwater basin and flowing into an artificial creek. Jürgen Kleinwächter observed, “In areas rich with sunshine, you never need electricity to pump water.”
But the system also produces electricity in a sixty square meter greenhouse covered with a special UV permeable foil. Concentrators for sun radiation are mounted which automatically follow the direction from which the sun shines. Fresnel lenses direct the sunlight on a focal line in plant oil flow-through tubes. The focused sunlight heats the oil up to 200 degrees. Stored in a special storage reservoir, the oil drives a solar kitchen as well as the “Sunpulse Hotoil,” a machine with a big flywheel. The low temperature Stirling transforms the differences of hot oil and cold water into electrical energy. A workshop saw shows its possible economic use.
David Lehrer, one of the guests and director of the Arava Desert Institute in Israel, exclaimed, “This system is groundbreaking. I wished we had had this idea.”
Jürgen Kleinwächter remarked, “The system is innovative in two ways. It provides solutions for the storage problems which we always find in solar energy technology; and it provides independence from photovoltaic, and thus from large industry.”
The Test Field and its technology were completely built in the relatively small workshops in Lörrach and Tamera. “Right now the system produces 1.5 kW of electricity,” engineer Paul Gisler explains. “But we want to improve that significantly in the next months.”
On November 7th and 14th at 2:30 pm, we offer Test Field tours for interested people.
Registration at: solarvillage(at)tamera.org