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This snowboard maker is harnessing solar energy from the desert to go green

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Snowboard maker in eco-friendly factory
Snowboard maker in eco-friendly factory   -   Copyright  Euronews
By Evan Bourke

Climate change is threatening the future of snow sports, while over-polluted coastlines are impacting surfing destinations around the globe.

With this in mind, board manufacturer SWS Board Technologies is taking a greener approach to production.

One might expect to find snowboard manufacturers at the foot of the snow-covered slopes, but SWS – one of the world’s leading snowboard manufacturers – has set up shop on the edge of an arid desert in Dubai.

Harnessing the power of sunlight to make snowboards

SWS Board Technologies are using solar energy to power their board manufacturing plant in Dubai.

"We wanted to make sure that we're careful about our carbon footprint,” said Rainier Nouhra, CEO of SWS Board Technologies. “The first thing is to make sure is that the energy we’re using is from a sustainable source. 

"The photovoltaic [light particles to electricity conversion] potential that you get here in Dubai is 2.5-times superior to the average in the world."

SWS’s solar panels generate one GWh/year of electricity per year. This is the equivalent of the annual electricity used by 68 households.

SWS Board Technologies have also re-engineered old machines used in their manufacturing process to reduce power consumption and optimise the use of the energy created from solar panels.

SWS Board Technologies
The new, more efficient machines used to make boards.SWS Board Technologies

Board manufacturers have moved away from using solvents that are harmful to the ecosystem, and – after five years of research – a new water-based protective board lacquer has been developed. 

This lacquer also helps improve a board's durability, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint of each board. 

"If we manufacture a durable board, then the need to replace the board is reduced," explains Nouhra. "This cuts down energy used to produce boards and emissions used to transport it."

SWS Board Technologies
Bio-based Resin MaterialSWS Board Technologies

Dubai itself has a programme, named the Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to provide 75 per cent of the emirate's energy through clean sources within 30 years.