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ContiTech Develops Pioneering Solution for Water and Energy Supply

  • Double sustainability: special vinyl sheets with solar cells protect water and generate energy
  • Innovation for hot regions with low rainfall
  • High degree of prefabrication for simple Installation

Hanover, April 2015. An innovation from ContiTech business unit Benecke-Kaliko is offering sustainability and setting trends twice over. Dynactiv Power – with integrated solar technology is a special opaque vinyl sheet with multi-functional properties that has been developed for semi-arid countries. It completely seals large areas of water and reliably protects water reservoirs against pollution and evaporation. With this product, up to 40% more service water is retained, which can be used to cultivate correspondingly large agricultural areas. In addition, photovoltaic modules are laminated onto the sheet that supply solar energy to the surrounding houses and for operating pumping stations. The composite sheet produces around 500 kWp of electricity per 10,000 m². This means that a reservoir of 100,000 m² can be used to run a small power plant with 5.0 MWp. With this innovation, ContiTech is opening up access to new key industries.

Efficient with double the benefits: previously, there were no systems that consistently combined water protection with climate-friendly energy Generation. Photo: ContiTech © Continental


Self-sustaining electricity and water supply
Huge sections of our planet lack energy and water. "There is enormous demand for a water and electricity supply that is independent of the grid. Urbanized communities in semi-arid countries cannot supply rural regions to the same extent as metropolitan areas. This proves just as difficult for large countries such as the U.S.A., Australia, China, and Saudi Arabia as it does for poorer countries dependent on international programs. Dynactiv Power compensates for the lack of water and electricity in a very simple way," says Tobias Haarburger, Program Manager – Dynactiv Surfaces at Benecke-Kaliko, explaining the system's potential and benefits.

Drinking water, process water, and electricity supplies are key elements of social and economic development: for agriculture, hygienic conditions, commercial initiatives, and ultimately for schooling and practical training. This innovation allows water to be transported via self-sustaining pumping stations and reservoirs in remote regions. Furthermore, self-sufficiency can be achieved with solar energy in areas with no real access to other sources of energy. "This is the future of water and energy supply in semi-arid countries and hot regions. By generating energy from the sun, the system – which is ready for series production – contributes to environmental and climate protection while also leading to more water, more agricultural products, less hunger, and improved health. This results in more secure livelihoods, better education, and increased prosperity," says Haarburger.

With the ContiTech system, up to 40% more agricultural land can be irrigated and the energy generated ensures a self-sustaining electricity supply to the surrounding villages. Photo: ContiTech © Continental


Joint innovation ready for the market
The innovation is a joint achievement by various experts. Engineers at Benecke-Kaliko and the Israeli company Haogenplast Ltd. developed the novel system together with water managers, high-voltage specialists, photovoltaic manufacturers, and scientific institutes. A pilot project proved that this technically sophisticated combination – in which flexible thin-film modules are laminated onto the foam-backed PVC sheet – is ready for the market. Over a period of three years, a test system ran on an area of water covering 1,200 m² with peak performance of 8.5 kWp. "Previously, there were no systems that consistently combined water protection with climate-friendly energy generation," explains Haarburger.

High degree of prefabrication for particularly simple installation
In Dynactiv Power, ContiTech has a product that is easy to install thanks to its high degree of prefabrication. An excavator is sufficient to dig the reservoir. There is no need for expensive concreting or large construction sites, and the sheets (25 m long, 1.5 m wide) can be simply laid and connected. The tear-resistant sheets can bear the weight of people walking and vehicles driving, allowing maintenance work to be performed with very little effort.

The flat modules can easily cope with wind and sand. The system has a service life of around 20 years. Compared with Dynactiv Power, conventional rigid modules provide the same amount of energy with a higher installation outlay and offer little or no water coverage.

With the ContiTech system, up to 40% more agricultural land can be irrigated and the energy generated ensures a self-sustaining electricity supply to the surrounding villages. Photo: ContiTech © Continental


Benecke-Kaliko Significantly Expands Industrial Business
With the acquisition of two new plants in Pamplona, Spain and Wągrowiec, Poland, last year, the surface specialist Benecke-Kaliko is significantly expanding its industrial business. The company has been producing industrial products in Germany for many decades as well. "With the new locations, we can consolidate our strengths and offer our customers clear added value. They can benefit from an even wider product portfolio in ultra-high quality and an optimum on-site service. We are also incorporating our global development and design expertise, our global network, and our know-how in the industrial sector to an even greater extent," says Claus Zürbig, project manager for integration of the new locations at Benecke-Kaliko.
Benecke-Kaliko's industrial products will be marketed under the branded portfolio "Dynactiv Surfaces" in the future. "In this way, we can show our customers that, in addition to a broad product portfolio for high-quality automobile interior materials, we are also very well established in the industrial sector," explains Zürbig. Dynactiv Power – with integrated solar technology forms part of this product portfolio. The name "Dynactiv" comes from the words "dynamic" and "active." Products from the Dynactiv portfolio are "dynamic", or dynamic as well as active, or active, because they offer solutions for many different industries. Products with the additional label Power are used in the water industry. In the case of Dynactiv Power – with integrated solar technology, the system also generates energy from the sun. The portfolio also includes seat upholstery materials for the furniture industry, medical practices, restaurant and hotel chains, stadium and theater seats, and boat fittings. In addition, Benecke-Kaliko supplies floor covering materials for airplanes, materials for protective clothing for fire brigades and technical services, as well as for shoe soles, raincoats, or luggage in the fashion sector.