Swiss Cleantech businesses have expertise in the following areas:
- Avalanche control systems for protection of roads, railways, ski slopes and infrastructure
- Avalanche detection and weather monitoring systems
- Flood prevention and protection
- Identification of natural threats
- Noise protection
- Radiation protection
- High-tech strategies to protect the population in times of crisis
The topography of Switzerland can rightly be described as extreme, with almost half of its surface area in the Alps and a range of natural hazards – from avalanches to mudslides, flash floods and earthquakes – emanating from their slopes which reach up to 4,000 meters in altitude. Unsurprisingly, the Swiss have learned to monitor and deal with these hazards and a number of companies have developed advanced technologies, measuring equipment and strategies which ensure life and commerce can carry on as normal in the regions living in the shadow of the Alps.
Avalanche and rockslide protection
One example of this is Switzerland’s leading expertise in weather monitoring and forecasting and the Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research in Weissfluhjoch / Davos is particularly well known. It is also important to note that 170 remote controlled avalanche towers and over 600 kilometres of avalanche protection barriers have been installed over the past few decades to protect residential areas and key infrastructure. Similarly, a number of flood defenses have been erected. The technologies developed and tested to protect Swiss communities are now being exported to other mountainous regions around the world. Having an efficient system for avalanche protection is important for alpine regions, and for example the innovative company wyssen avalanche control AG has developed a remote controlled avalanche tower in order to effectively secure roads, railways and ski slopes and minimize the risk of avalanche related accidents.
The Alps represent a barrier to traffic between the north and south of Europe. The 57 kilometer-long railway tunnel through the Gotthard will be the world's longest when it is opened in 2016 and is intended to be an environmentally sound corridor serving the growing volume of freight transported across Europe and protecting it from the weather. When it comes to infrastructure, safety is always a major concern in Switzerland due to its high population density.