ForestVoltaics thesis project wins audience award 2022 Sunday conference
The Master thesis project by Sam van den Oeterlaar about ForestVoltaics won the audience award of the 2022 Sunday Conference. The project was supervised by Igor Sirnik and Sven Stremke, both Wageningen University & Research, and was conducted under the umbrella of the Wageningen Solar Research Programme.
Thesis abstract: Afforestation is becoming politically popular to boost biological carbon sequestration to reduce climate change effects. Similarly, the use of solar panels is also getting popular. In densely populated countries such as The Netherlands, multifunctionality of the landscape is a significant factor for spatial quality. This master examines the potential synergies between silviculture and renewable energy production. The research consists of two parts: research for design (RtD) and research through designing (RTD). The RfD process yielded 11 design considerations covering carbon sequestration, forest health, recreation and Forestvoltaics (FV) – a promising function combination between photovoltaic energy production and forest development. The RtD process resulted in a landscape design in which FV systems are integrated in a multifunctional carbon mitigation landscape. The research concluded that FV are suitable for creating synergies. However, the proposed concept is novel and conceptual, and additional studies are required to examine its full potential.
Figure: Visualization of the ForestVoltaics concept for dry sandy grounds in the Eastern Netherlands (Van den Oeterlaar, Stremke & Sirnik, 2022)