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Enhancing Global Clean Energy Services Using Orbiting Solar Reflectors

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 883730

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 December 2020

  • End date

    30 November 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 496 392

  • EU contribution

    € 2 496 392

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

United Kingdom

Objective

The delivery of global clean energy services is arguably the preeminent engineering grand challenge for the 21st century. Indeed, it is clear that the unprecedented scale and pace of this challenge will require daring and disruptive new thinking. This project will devise, develop and demonstrate an adventurous strategy to enhance the delivery of global clean energy services using ultra-lightweight orbiting solar reflectors. The strategy will utilise a constellation of reflectors to illuminate large terrestrial solar power plants, particularly at dawn and dusk, when their output is low but electricity demand and spot prices are high.

First, we will devise new families of orbits for constellations of reflectors by leveraging solar radiation pressure perturbations. Then, we will develop novel pointing and attitude control strategies by integrating actuators into the structure and membrane of the reflectors themselves. As a key breakthrough, we will devise and demonstrate in the laboratory new processes to enable the automated in-orbit fabrication of large gossamer reflectors. This will overcome the launch vehicle vibration loads imposed on deployable reflectors and payload faring volume constraints. In parallel, impacts on the global energy economy will be assessed and optimised, as will issues such as the suppression of stray light, policy and regulation.

The overarching goal of the project is to demonstrate, in simulation and hardware, the immense opportunities of utilising orbiting solar reflectors to accelerate the delivery of global clean energy services into the 21st century. Such technology represents a step-change for the space sector, from the delivery of information-based data services to the delivery of physical resources. Importantly, it represents an opportunity to demonstrate bold and imaginative new ways of meeting the energy grand challenges of the future.

Host institution

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

Address

University Avenue
G12 8qq Glasgow

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 2 496 392

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

United Kingdom

EU Contribution

€ 2 496 392

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 883730

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 December 2020

  • End date

    30 November 2025

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.1.

  • Overall budget:

    € 2 496 392

  • EU contribution

    € 2 496 392

Hosted by:

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW

United Kingdom