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Training Centers


Centre for Alternative Technology

From Eco-friendly Community to Visitor Centre
CAT - Centre for Alternative Technology - is one of the earliest centres, established in 1973 in a 16-hectare abandoned slate quarry in the mountains of Mid Wales. Its original aim was to create a new form of sustainable rural community, which would experiment with “alternative” technologies and ways of life. Little by little, number of volunteers increased and in 1974 the idea came to turn a part of the site into a permanent exhibition centre to explain CAT’s work and generate interest in alternative technologies. This centre opened in 1975. Almost from the beginning, it began to attract growing numbers of casual day visitors. The emphasis shifted to providing a “good day out” for visitors, who were mostly holidaymakers in the area combined with a simple educational approach to the whole range of ecological lifestyle issues. Currently, CAT gathers permanent 90 staff members and volunteers with additional 60 people during summer time. Around 65,000 visitors are welcomed there every year.

Inspiring, Informing, Enabling
These three words sum up the mission of CAT: “Inspiring” for instilling the desire to change through concrete examples, “Informing” for feeding the desire to change by providing the most appropriate information, “Enabling” for providing and effective and continuing support to change the desire into reality.

What Can Visitors See?
- A range of interactive displays with working examples of environmentally responsible buildings, renewable energy generation, sustainability in the home, organic growing, composting and waste management. Some of these displays are especially designed for children.
- A cliff railway powered by water-balancing
- A stand alone electricity generating system comprising hydro, wind power and a 13kW photovoltaic roof
- A boiler burning local forestry waste to provide space and water heating
- A rain fed reservoir for water
- Aquatic plant systems to treat sewage and waste water

Which services are provided ?
- Visitor center (daily ticket around 8-4 Pounds) (incl. shop, cafeteria etc)
- Association providing services for members (newsletter "Clean Slate")
- An information centre which provide visitors with free advice on sustainable living
- Short courses (1 to 6 days) on environmental issues
- Master's degrees in architecture
- An institute for sustainable education is currently under construction (June 2008). This institute will include a 200 seat lecture theatre, 24 study bedrooms, seminar rooms, a laboratory and a restaurant.
CAT also publishes books and articles on various topics (e.g. renewable energy, green education, architecture, sustainable careers…) and proposes consultancy services.

Articles in Sustainable Energy News:
(The issues can be downloaded from the web site of INFORSE.)

  • Zero Carbon Britain & Masters Programmes at CAT
    Issue No. 57, p. 5, August 2007 (pdf file 804kB)
  • Wales: NGO Network Launched
    Issue No. 49, p.8, June 2005 (pdf file 295kB)
  • Eco-Centers, theme including the CAT
    Issue No. 24, p. 13-14, February 1999
    (pdf file 230kB)

INFORSE organised a Seminar at CAT in 2003 (proceedings), and planning one in 2008.

Name and type of project
Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT).
Exhibition and Development Centre
(CAT is member of INFORSE)
Starting year 1973
New local jobs 90 but some of them are volunteers
Number of similar projects None in UK. (Artefact in Germany, Folkecenter in Denmark)
Contact persons for 
further information

Centre for Alternative Technology,
Machynlleth, Powys,
SY20 9AZ, United Kingdom
Ph: +44 1654 705950; Fax: +44 1654 702782
web site: