A solar-powered education and research facility has opened at Cornwall’s Eden Project in the UK.
The Core features a geometrically complex roof structure based on the Fibonacci sequence — natural patterns that occur in the spirals of snails’ shells or the seeds in the head of a sunflower.
Solar panels were installed on a mounting structure constructed from a spiral of steel tubes.
The panels spiral outwards from the building’s centre to form the shape of a flower with 11 petals. Each petal contains a combination of 80W and 40W panels arranged in descending row lengths.
Although parts of the Core’s roof face north, the panels should generate enough clean power to compensate for the release of more than nine tons of carbon dioxide annually, said the project team.
The Core has taken two years to construct at a cost of £15 million. Major sponsors are the Millennium Commission (£10.5 million), South West Regional Development Agency (£2.9 million) and Objective One (£1 million), with the balance coming from a number of smaller contributors.