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Montevideo, April 17th 2024 - 12:49 UTC



French company to open world's first solar-powered air traffic control station in Chile

Wednesday, March 20th 2024 - 18:55 UTC
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“No one had ever made a radar 100% independent of the power grid,” Thales' Macaferri explained “No one had ever made a radar 100% independent of the power grid,” Thales' Macaferri explained

The French company Thales will be opening a 100% solar energy-powered air traffic control (ATC) station in Chile, it was announced in Santiago. The facility will be in the city of Calama in the Atacama Desert in the northern part of the country, it was also explained. The radars consume about one megawatt per hour.

Following the contract finalized in 2021, Chile's Directorate General of Civil Aeronautics will operate the world's first ATC station fully powered by renewable energy. It will run solely on power generated by 340 solar panels and adjacent energy storage systems.

“Our team had already been working on technological developments based on alternative energy sources for some years, so we decided to take on this challenge,” said Thales' Brazil CEO Luciano Macaferri. “No one had ever made a radar 100% independent of the power grid,” he added while describing the hindrances encountered during the implementation of the project, such as transporting the necessary equipment and preserving the local archaeological heritage.

“We had to build two bridges to move the equipment there,” he noted. “And while we were preparing the site, we found some archaeological artifacts. So we contacted local indigenous groups and they demarcated part of the area,” noted the CEO.

Macaferri also underlined the growing interest of airports and authorities in adopting renewable energy to reduce the environmental impact and contribute to the fight against climate change. The Chilean facility “has been a first example,” he stressed. “It has finally taken place outside Brazil, but we already see many airports interested in renewable energies to reduce their carbon footprint,” he also pointed out.

The Paris-based company is now interested in building similar projects elsewhere, also using other sources such as wind and hydroelectric power, Macaferri also told reporters.

Categories: Energy & Oil, Politics, Chile.

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