As a take-off activity within the Space & Energy (S&E) Initiative, ESA launched a study together with industry to investigate possible technology synergies between the space sector and the terrestrial energy industry. This work was carried out by Abengoa Hidrogeno that, together with ESA experts from a variety of technical domains, explored the areas of overlap where both space and terrestrial industry could benefit from close cooperation.
For this study, the main technology domains under investigation included Thermal Control, Hydrogen Production & Storage, Photo-voltaics, Energy Storage, Life Support, Robotics and Space Weather Effects.
The activity was kicked-off early 2013 at ESTEC. During this meeting, ESA domain experts presented their current roadmaps from a space perspective to the Abengoa research team. In the following months, these roadmaps were carefully analyzed considering several common criteria, including R&D synergies, timing factors, technology readiness levels (TRLs) and economic return. Here, Abengoa could give a valuable contribution with its interpretation of the ESA roadmaps as a company leader in the terrestrial energy sector.
During the evaluation process, one of the key activities carried out by Abengoa was to identify external industry partners for the various technologies. By putting these into contact with the ESA engineers, relevant and upcoming opportunities and challenges of technology synergies could be explored.
At the final project presentation in February 2014 at ESTEC, a list of technologies was recommended by Abengoa for further in-depth investigation. These recommendations, together with the results of the discussions with the terrestrial industry, are now being taken on-board to update the ESA technology roadmaps. In fact, the outcome is already being used to propose follow-up studies within the technology research programme (TRP) framework to further mature the technologies.