VALENCIA port has taken a firm step in the green direction with the installation of solar panels in the ground that can be walked on and driven over.
The pioneering system is part of a wider scheme entitled ‘Valenciaport 2030, zero emissions’, aimed at improving sustainability and which has made Valencia a leading example of the new international breed of so-called ‘smart ports’.
A total of 24 ‘walkable’ solar panels have been fitted in the north dock, which are connected to the electricity grid and able to generate the equivalent of half the power used in a household with three people over 12 months.
This will prevent the emission of up to 5.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.
The panels are said to be anti-slip and tougher than concrete, making them resistant to impacts and scratches, plus having regenerative properties.
But even more significant is the fact that the installation opens the door to using large areas of port space to generate electricity – a possibility previously unheard of.
The pilot project will serve as a test to check the efficiency of power production in surroundings with high atmospheric salinity and other tough conditions.
If successful, the technology could be exported and implemented at similar sites throughout the world.
Federico Torres, chief of Ecological Transition for Valencia port, explained that the benefits of the project are twofold: to boost the decarbonisation process at the installations, and to support innovation and the creation of new business opportunities for young, local talent.
Torres also recalled other green projects currently underway at Valencia port, including a drive to make it the first in Europe to use vehicles and machinery powered by hydrogen batteries, the installation of a wind farm, and the electrification of Valencia docks.