The 33,000 hectares of greenhouses in Almería are an important source of food and have the potential to be much more, according to the Sana Energy company. Their development in nano-paste could ensure that Almería's greenhouses also become a source of electrical energy. But what is nano-paste?
According to Javier Celdran, the director of Sana, a nano-paste is a material composed mainly of carbon nanoparticles whose main applications are the generation and accumulation of electricity, as well as the generation of heat, cold, and lighting. "We don't use any rare earths, minerals, or heavy metals, and therefore we are not subject to any kind of restrictions." The nano-paste and, therefore, the solar panels or batteries that the company manufactures are 100% recyclable, non-toxic, resistant, and durable.
Sana makes it possible to transform any surface into a solar panel, which means the walls and roofs of greenhouses can also function as solar panels. "We can even produce electricity with diffuse light without the need for the sun's rays to fall directly on the panel. This is important to be able to place panels vertically with the same efficiency as if they were perpendicular to the rays," Celdran added.
In the case of greenhouses, the company can produce a translucent solar panel, where the amount of light coming in can be regulated according to the needs of the crop. "We can do this with an electro-chromatic paste, which becomes more or less transparent depending on the voltage applied to it. Producers can regulate the amount of light according to the crop they've planted."
The system would require zero investment from producers. "We do the whole installation for free. We rent the roof of the greenhouse, which the grower can manage according to the needs of the crop. Our revenue model is to sell electricity. Another option, in which the producer is required to invest, would be to sell the producer the solar panel (greenhouse roof) so that the producer can use or sell the energy he or she generates." The maintenance of our panels is easy compared to traditional silicon plates that are rigid and can have micro-breaks that would render the circuit useless. "Our panels can be pierced with pins, and they will continue to work," stated the director of the firm.
"The idea is to add electricity to the grid where we can and where Red Eléctrica and the regulator allow us, discharging the electricity in municipalities that can reduce their energy costs. On the other hand, we want to build a large park for hydrogen generation whose electrolyzers would operate with the electricity generated by the greenhouses. We also want to build and power desalination plants on the coast," he added.