Science and Exploration

Combined Airborne Wind and Photovoltaic Energy System for Martian Habitats

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
April 21, 2021
Filed under ,
Combined Airborne Wind and Photovoltaic Energy System for Martian Habitats
Combined Airborne Wind and Photovoltaic Energy System for Martian Habitats Architecture and interfacing of the entire renewable energy system. Schematic from Corte Vargas et al (2020).

Generating renewable energy on Mars is technologically challenging. Firstly, because compared to Earth, key energy resources such as solar and wind are weak as a result of very low atmospheric pressure and low solar irradiation.
Secondly, because of the harsh environmental conditions, the required high degree of automation and the exceptional effort and costs to transport material to the planet. Like on Earth, it is crucial to combine complementary resources for an effective renewable energy solution.

In this work, we present the result of a design synthesis exercise, a 10 kW microgrid solution, based on a pumping kite power system and photovoltaic solar modules to power the construction as well as the subsequent use of a Mars habitat. To buffer unavoidable energy fluctuations and balance seasonal and diurnal resource variations, the two energy systems are combined with a compressed gas storage system and lithium-sulfur batteries.

The airborne wind energy solution was selected because of its low weight-to-wing-surface-area ratio, compact packing volume and high capacity factor which enables it to endure strong dust storms in an airborne parking mode. The surface area of the membrane wing is 50 m2 and the mass of the entire system, including the kite control unit and ground station, is 290 kg.

The performance of the microgrid is assessed by computational simulation using available resource data for a chosen deployment location on Mars. The projected costs of the system are 8.95 million Euro, excluding transportation to Mars.

Lora Ouroumova, Daan Witte, Bart Klootwijk, Esmée Terwindt, Francesca van Marion, Dmitrij Mordasov, Fernando Corte Vargas, Siri Heidweiller, Márton Géczi, Marcel Kempers, Roland Schmehl

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2104.09506 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2104.09506v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Roland Schmehl [view email]
[v1] Mon, 19 Apr 2021 06:33:52 UTC (2,432 KB)

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