Portuguese prove SKA green energy system
SmartGlow, led by engineering specialists dstgroup, was awarded €1.9m by the Portuguese Innovation Agency to prove feasibility of delivering green solar energy to off-grid sites.
Its aim was to develop a renewable, scalable, and reliable electric power supply system with a reduced operating cost and reduced carbon footprint.
To develop and test their system, SmartGlow took the demanding requirements for power quality and energy autonomy of SKA equipment as their benchmark.
Working in close partnership with SKAO engineers, SmartGlow created a standalone off-grid power system supplying a small SKA-Low prototype station of up to 32 antennas located in Portugal.
The pilot scheme comprised a photovoltaic production unit and next generation power converters offering reduced electromagnetic emissions.
The scheme has aided proof-of-concept for both SKA-Low and SKA-Mid power stations. A prototype of the latter will be constructed in South Africa to build on the findings of SmartGlow’s ground-breaking work.
SKA-Mid’s prototype station will be the most electromagnetic-quiet power station on Earth, packed with a host of world-first scientific breakthroughs.
Through their collaboration with the SKAO, SmartGlow was able to fine-tune a complex green energy solution, furthering Portuguese industrial expertise and providing an eco-friendly platform that can be adopted by other Big Science projects.
Sustainability and minimising the environmental impact of the SKA telescopes has been at the core of our thinking. It was great to see SmartGlow demonstrate the feasibility of providing our telescopes with affordable and renewable energy.