Kallangsvag 73, 18144 Lidingo, Sweden +46 703936761 www.saevfors.se
Architect/Urban planner with longtime links to Africa, the Americas and SE Asia, specializes in innovative building technologies for low income regions.
IN FOCUS NOW: The daunting perspective of housing another three billion people until 2050 is now further exacerbated by the fast climate change.
In the wake of Glasgow-COP26 there is now intensified focus on Solar energy. However, solar panel parks of the quantities needed will demand enormous space on fairly flat land. The challenge will then be to sacrifice farm-land for a constantly growing world population.
New technology under way
Recent progress with transparent solar panels has windows as the obvious target but can also be combined with agriculture. Large structures supporting the transparent solar panels may permit sufficient light for farming below. Some crops can even have a certain advantage by the protection from scorching sun and violent down-pours of tropical rains.
A totally planar surface is important for the solar panels. The secret is the triangulation of connector nodes by the pole elements of the same length. Such support structures, often in form of space frames, are today mostly made from aluminium profiles, often more expensive than the solar panels they support. The same space frame structures could actually be made from bamboo, a local material made resistant to insects by low-toxic borax treatment. The cost difference compared to aluminium is gigantic. In addition the benefits of local materials and rural livelihoods are obvious.
A pilot project is now under planning in Thailand where the feasibility and cost consequence could be explored. Space frame structures of 16 x 16 m will be spaced allowing 4 m gaps for drainage/irrigation canals and access paths in between. Such a single unit 16x16 could already be instrumental to an evaluation of the concept.
Solar panel fixture to PetCrown, bamboo space frame connector.More details...SolarPanelFixture
Stress analysis by KTH (Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm) of the bamboo poles, considering upwind wind effects of 30 m/s, indicates a max axial compression force of 9.8 kN. (Corresponding to 14.3 MPa, much below allowable tension)