Blossoming Beach Umbrella Uses Solar Energy to Cool You Down

By: | July 3rd, 2021

Image courtesy: Carlo Ratti Associati

Sammontana, Italy’s biggest gelato brand collaborated with architect and inventor Carlo Ratti, to develop a beach umbrella.  Unlike ordinary beach umbrellas, it uses solar energy to provide cooling and refrigeration.

A sustainable vision for summer pastimes

Sibilla Bagnoli, head of communication and image at Sammontana, said, “The project builds on Sammontana’s objective to lower the environmental impact potentially applicable to Italian beaches — which are the iconic backdrops where Sammontana is served, marking the most pleasant and joyful moments of summer,” 

“For many years, our company has been focusing on such special environments, experimenting with new ways to welcome the public, manage services and innovate while protecting the environment.” 

Following are some of its features:

  • The distinct feature of this umbrella is the way it unfolds its photovoltaic arrays. 
  • It opens like a work of origami. 
  • Its design is based on solar systems on NASA spacecraft.
  • The umbrella is about 2.5 meters high (8.2 feet) and it occupies a diameter of 3.2 meters (10.5 feet). 
  • Its Foldable panels can be adjusted for the best sun exposure…making it highly energy efficient.
  • Power generated by the solar panels is used to power mini-refrigerators. So users can keep their food and drinks fresh even during the warmest hours of the day. 
  • To power, a large ice-cream refrigerator or any other utility, energy generated from several umbrellas can be linked together.

Carlo Ratti, said, “Can we use the power of the abundant summer sunshine to make our holiday experience more sustainable?” 

“The design concept of this project starts from using the sun to produce electricity to cool the space under the umbrella – and then scale it up to provide power to any beach resort. We are delighted that Sammontana invited us to develop this project, as both our organizations share a strong commitment to environmental values and human wellbeing.”

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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