Space technology 'could reduce cost of renewable energy'

May 04, 2015

Space-based radar technology could be harnessed by the renewable energy sector to drive down costs, according to academics at the University of Strathclyde.

The SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) technology is currently used to help protect and manage marine environments, to detect illegal logging in tropical forests, and to aid disaster relief efforts. However, its use in aiding the take-up of renewable energy is now also being explored.

SAR systems, which are carried on spacecraft such as Europe's Sentinel-1, can detect slight movements of as little as a few millimetres. This capability could have applications for energy companies, such as structural monitoring of offshore wind-turbines, detecting fallen pylons in remote regions, or identifying future sites for turbines. The technology could also enhance the efficiency of network monitoring at a time of growing global demand for energy, and help to reduce energy costs, as well as helping to support the cost of using the technology in future humanitarian programmes.

The potential of SAR, along with other satellite applications for energy industries, will be outlined at an event hosted by the Strathclyde-based Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications at the University's Technology and Innovation Centre on Tuesday, 5 May. It forms part of Engage With Strathclyde, an annual week-long series of events aimed at promoting and enhancing collaborative partnerships with business, industry and the public and third sectors.

Dr Malcolm Macdonald, Director of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications, said: "We're looking to open up conversation with industry about how it could use space technology in a way that may not have been traditionally thought about.

"Very small shifts in buildings and landscapes are difficult to detect but SAR can pick up on this and, with the use of 'before' and 'after' images can show where a movement has occurred, often before a ground-based observer would notice. It can also detect things that may otherwise take time to be discovered because of the remoteness of the location.

"Radar also has the advantage of not depending on the weather and being able to detect features even through cloud or rain."

Energy is a key area of expertise within the University of Strathclyde's £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre. The University's energy research is developing solutions to global challenges, including advanced renewables technologies, smart grids and leading-edge design for marine and aerospace electrical networks.

Strathclyde is one of three hubs of the UK-wide Satellite Applications Catapult, established to help businesses tap into the UK's multi-billion pound space sector. The Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications consolidates links between the science knowledge base and the business community, enabling companies to use satellite data in new ways, from supporting the energy industry to planning future cities.
-end-


University of Strathclyde

Related Renewable Energy Articles from Brightsurf:

Creating higher energy density lithium-ion batteries for renewable energy applications
Lithium-ion batteries that function as high-performance power sources for renewable applications, such as electric vehicles and consumer electronics, require electrodes that deliver high energy density without compromising cell lifetimes.

Renewable energy targets can undermine sustainable intentions
Renewable energy targets (RETs) may be too blunt a tool for ensuring a sustainable future, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Intelligent software for district renewable energy management
CSEM has developed Maestro, an intelligent software application that can manage and schedule the production and use of renewable energies for an entire neighborhood.

Renewable energy transition makes dollars and sense
New UNSW research has disproved the claim that the transition to renewable electricity systems will harm the global economy.

Renewable energy advance
In order to identify materials that can improve storage technologies for fuel cells and batteries, you need to be able to visualize the actual three-dimensional structure of a particular material up close and in context.

Illuminating the future of renewable energy
A new chemical compound created by researchers at West Virginia University is lighting the way for renewable energy.

Using fiber optics to advance safe and renewable energy
Fiber optic cables, it turns out, can be incredibly useful scientific sensors.

Renewable energy developments threaten biodiverse areas
More than 2000 renewable energy facilities are built in areas of environmental significance and threaten the natural habitats of plant and animal species across the globe.

Could water solve the renewable energy storage challenge?
Seasonally pumped hydropower storage could provide an affordable way to store renewable energy over the long-term, filling a much needed gap to support the transition to renewable energy, according to a new study from IIASA scientists.

Scientists take strides towards entirely renewable energy
Researchers have made a major discovery that will make it immeasurably easier for people (or super-computers) to search for an elusive 'green bullet' catalyst that could ultimately provide entirely renewable energy.

Read More: Renewable Energy News and Renewable Energy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.