Dominic Michaelis

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Dominic Michaelis
Born 1938
Died 22 December 2015
Cap Brun, Toulon
Occupation architect, inventor, solar energy and solar balloon pioneer, engineer
Postcard commemorating the first ever solar crossing by balloon of the English Channel flown by Julian Nott in 1981

Dominic Michaelis (born 1938) is an Anglo French architect and inventor.


Born in 1938 in Paris, Dominic Michaelis studied architecture and engineering at Cambridge. His thesis, written in 1964 was on a solar house and a floating solar village. He continued at Cornell studying for an M.Sc. in architectural structures and town planning.[1]

In 1974 Michaelis opened a consultancy to design solar buildings, one of which received the first joint RIBA, RICS and CIBSE award. He consulted for many known solar heated or cooled projects, being responsible for some of the early solar and low energy houses in Milton Keynes. He also built many projects abroad including neighbourhoods and structures, in Pisa, Rome, Marrakech, Barbados and Mali, where he built five pise walled low cost health clinics for the EU.[2]

In 2002 he patented the 'Energy Island' concept following a Call for Ideas by the International OTEC Association, a proposal for an offshore platform that would employ various techniques to generate renewable energy.[3] His son Alex Michaelis continues his father's solar projects, and particularly the energy island idea.[4]

In 1990 Michaelis developed a low cost geodesic geometry solar cooker, which cooks at over two hundred degrees Celsius. It also boils five litres of water in twenty minutes and can therefore sterilise 100 litres of water a day.

An idea for a wave energy converter was formulated and patented in 1980 with John Field engineer and colleague. Peter Rice a senior partner of ARUPS became interested in the project and a test was carried out at sea to validate the concept. The wave energy converter known as THE LILYPAD, is based on recovering energy from seas and oceans using flexible membranes only. It is now being developed for trials in the Mediterranean.

Michaelis also holds patents which dispense OTEC from the cold water pipe concept, removing many environmental and economic concerns.

Dominic Michaelis died on 22 December 2015 after a long battle with illness. He is survived by his two sons and wife Françoise.



Biography of Dominic Michaelis

  1. ^ Full biography including image at "Dominic Michaelis full biography (BioMarine organization website)" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-11.  |
  2. ^ A list of projects by Michaelis on Solar Energy LTD website, the company that continued Michaelis' projects. A full description of the projects can be found on Michaelis's bio page.
  3. ^ Schirber, Michael (12 November 2008). "Could 'energy islands' power the future?". LiveScience. Retrieved 1 May 2011. 
  4. ^ Treehugger:

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