Panatere wants to install a solar furnace in the watch valley

PANATERE, a Swiss company specialising in the transformation of raw materials and a major player in the watch and medical industries, has become the first in its sector to offer sustainable raw materials. Following on from its fully recycled and recyclable stainless steel, the Jura-based SME has just taken delivery of its first “solar” steel melts. For the first time in Switzerland, studies have been conducted on a regional solar furnace located in Watch Valley with the eventual aim of developing the ultimate production solution for solar materials. 


The watchmaking sector is currently undergoing significant development with a shift towards innovative sustainable material solutions. One such example is fully recycled and recyclable steel. This locally manufactured and traceable product comes from steel waste and offcuts produced by companies operating in the Jura region’s watch and medical sectors. This type of production incorporates closed loops, short supply chains and the Swiss circular economy. PANATERE, a Swiss company specialising in the transformation of raw materials, has disrupted the traditional production process to create the Rolls-Royce of steels and become the first in its sector to join the “Circular Economy Switzerland” movement.

AISI 316L steel grade 4441 and straps made from organic grape or fennel waste are among its most recent exciting developments, and used in the products of ID Genève, a pilot brand for this project. These are PANATERE’s first high-end sustainable products. Founder Raphaël Broye has taken things even further by introducing the company’s first solar energy ingot, produced just a few weeks ago in an industrial furnace in the Pyrenees. To change the perception of recycled materials in the fine watchmaking and medical sectors, the teams at PANATERE worked tirelessly to fulfil their long-standing ambition to be able to produce solar materials within 50 km of the company’s premises in the near future.

165 times less polluting than standard steel

The reasoning behind a local solar furnace is quite simple: this facility in Watch Valley will enable PANATERE to produce approximately 200 tonnes of solar steel every year. The company currently produces 50 tonnes a year of our fully recycled and recyclable steel, employing the services of our partner steelmakers based within 250 km of our site. Adopting a solar “industrialisation” approach and obtaining various innovation grants for our work will help us to become more competitive. This will enable us to offer material prices per kilogram equivalent to those of standard steel manufacturers. But more importantly, this exciting solar steel solution will help bring our carbon footprint down to a level 165 times lower than that of standard steel; in other words, almost carbon neutral. A revolution in the raw materials market – the planet’s number one polluter.

The first solution currently offered by PANATERE is responsible and sustainable. This fully recycled and recyclable steel scenario offers a tenfold reduction in the carbon footprint compared to a standard scenario 2. “PANATERE has spent years developing the recipe for this fully recycled AISI 316L grade 4441 stainless steel, which can be reused at the end of its life. “We are proud to be able to contribute to the local economy, with short supply chains coupled to the circular economy”, explains project manager Liselotte Thuring, who is keenly aware of the systematic nature of this approach and continues to take a broad view with the rollout of the industrial solar steel project. By 2022, PANATERE aims to install its first regional industrial solar furnace – a public commodity to be made available to other industries to safeguard the future of their business and promote clean energy and the local economy. PANATERE is also a proud member of the SOLAR IMPULSE program which aims to promote solar energy for a cleaner future.

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