The Canary Islands, the best natural research laboratory of the Atlantic

The geographical and environmental conditions make the Canary Islands an excellent natural research laboratory for the development and testing of new technologies, which may subsequently be implemented at the continental level. Each of the islands offers one or more test sites for new technologies, such as the island of Fuerteventura for photovoltaics or the island of El Hierro as an example of a 100% energy self-sufficient island.

Renewable energies
and water technologies

The Canary Islands have been able to transfer successfully to their African neighbors their own expertise and technological developments, mainly in the renewable energy and water technology sectors, for providing basic services such as electrication and water supply services to isolated rural communities.

The Canary Islands Government is deploying in the region technology parks specializing in adaptive technologies for development.

Solar energy: more than 3,000 sunlight hours per year, with a radiation of 5-6 KWh/m2 per day. Photovoltaic systems operate with the production of more than 1,700 hours.

Wind power: constant winds with average speeds of 6 to 8 m/s provide wind farms the equivalent to 3,000-4,000 wind hours.

Water treatment: production of 600,000 m3 desalinated water per day. The rst desalinating plant in Spain was inaugura- ted in Lanzarote in 1965.

Geothermal energy: there are two projects currently in progress.

Solar Energy
3,000

hours/year sunlight

1,700h

production of photovoltaic systems

5-6

KWh/m2 radiation

Wind Power
6-8 m/s

Average wind speed

4,000-4,500 h.

Equivalency

Infrastructures
ITC

Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias

ITER

Instituto Tecnológico de Energías Renovables

PLOCAN

Oceanic Platform of the Canary Islands

Astrophysics

The Canary Islands offer excellent conditions for the observation of the universe. The Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has two observatories, the “Observatorio del Teide” (Izaña, Tenerife) and the “Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos” (Garafía, La Palma), which provide support to more than 70 scientic institutions of 19 countries.

Thanks to their geographical location, the islands also provide local support, through the Canary Islands Space Centre (CEC), for satellite launch and control services, for the reception of data acquired by Earth observation satellites and for many international space missions.

Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias
Biodiversity

The archipelago is one of the European regions with the richest biodiversity and the highest number of endemic species per area. Biodiversity is a starter for Biotechnology, a revolutionary eld with a bearing on various industrial sectors such as pharmacology, nutrition and energy, and with a great potential for the technological development of primary sectors such as shing and agriculture.

The Canary Islands have excellent infrastructures and centres of excellence for R&D relating to marine sciences such as marine biodiversity and preservation of the coastline, marine biology, aquiculture and oceanography, which provide international cooperation at different technological levels. There are several cooperation projects with African institutions currently in progress, with the aim of contributing to a sustainable exploitation of marine resources in African coastal areas.

  • 80% of the Spanish biodiversity is concentrated in the Canary Islands
  • About 14,000 terrestrial endemic species
  • 5,500 marine species
  • 600 endemic plants
80% of the Spanish biodiversity is concentrated in the Canary Islands
14,000

Terrestrial endemic species

5,500

Marine endemic species

600

Endemic Plants

Infrastructures
BEA

Spanish Bank of Algae

International Cooperation Projects

International cooperation projects have been successfully implemented for decades, particularly in West Africa and South America, through the development and transfer of adaptive technology in sectors such as energy, water, agriculture, shing and public health.

  • The Centre of Research Applied to Renewable Energies, Desalination and Cooling of the University of Nouakchott, Mauritania, with the support of the ITC
  • The University Institute for Tropical Diseases, in the island of Tenerife, conanced by Senegal
  • Advice to the Government of Cape Verde in the matter of water management from the energy and sustainability points of view
  • Use of renewable energy to provide electricity to villages and isolated rural communities in West African countries
  • Development and implementation of small autonomous desalination plants powered by renewable energies
download pdf:Natural Science Lab