Experiences

Student Elena

ELENA DESIGNS REFUGEE TENT WITH SOLAR PANELS

“NEW TECHNOLOGIES CAN MAKE A MAJOR CONTRIBUTION TO OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, ESPECIALLY IN TIMES OF CRISIS”

University of Twente student Elena Findeisen has developed an inflatable refugee tent with solar panels. Findeisen designed the tent for her Master’s project in Industrial Design. It has LED lights, the capacity to recharge devices and in future the solar panels may even provide enough energy for medical equipment. 

“I am convinced that new technologies and their application can make a major contribution to our quality of life,” says Findeisen. “That applies to the refugee crisis, too. I have been playing around with the idea of a tent with solar panels for some time. When I started this project, the refugee crisis was not as serious as it is today, but I think I’ve found an important application.”

INFLATE IN TEN MINUTES

Findeisen carried out her Master’s project at the company HyET Solar. Her research focused on the applications of amorphous silicon solar panels, which are extremely thin, light and flexible. In Hengelo-based agency O&H Concepts, Findeisen found a partner to design and manufacture the tent, enabling her to focus on the roof construction and incorporating the solar panels. The inflatable refugee tent measures 6 x 4 metres and its roof is fitted with eight solar panels with a total surface area of 7 m². The tent takes about ten minutes to fully inflate and can be divided into compartments to accommodate up to 16 people. It contains no metal parts. 

As Findeisen reveals, the story does not stop there: “Many other companies and organizations have shown an interest in my work. That’s a very positive development. It would be wonderful if we could all join forces to produce these tents and make a real difference in the lives of refugees.”

Elena Findeisen (25) was a student specializing in Sustainable Product Development on the Master’s programme in Industrial Design Engineering.
Her supervisor was Angele Reinders, Professor of Energy Efficient Design at the University of Twente.

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