SKA will soon be the largest radio telescope in the world, ultimately covering a total collector area of one square kilometer in the Karoo Desert in South Africa (SKA1-MID) and Murchison County in Australia (SKA1-LOW). Designed by an international scientific consortium, it aims to study fundamental questions such as the initial phases of formation of all objects in the Universe.
With the 64 antennas already in existence through the MeerKAT South African radio telescope, of which 133 additional SKA1-MID dishes will be integrated by 2028, the site's overall energy demand is estimated at 5 MW approximately. Today, MeerKAT is connected to the local electricity grid, which is not adapted to support the required power, mainly supplied by fossil fuels. The objective of this comparative study is therefore to define a selection of technologies that are best suited for the South African context, safe, environmentally friendly and with a long-term perspective.
Bertin is studying the various resources available in the area concerned: photovoltaic and thermodynamic solar energy, wind energy, hydropower, hydrogen and biomass. The experts also study the impact of production and storage technologies on the environment by integrating product life cycle analysis. They identified and sized several solutions to better meet the needs of the SKA project. These solutions highlight technological innovations, some of which are French, that make it possible to consider an economically and technically credible alternative to fossil resources.
This study thus makes it possible to set up a replicable analysis methodology for the energy supply of isolated and export-sensitive sites.
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Bertin Technologies, subsidiary of CNIM Group, relies on its long experience of innovation to offer innovative consulting and engineering services. Its Bertin Energy Environment department supports territories and industries towards energy autonomy and environmental exemplarity through a complementary set of expertise related to energy efficiency, process flexibility, renewable and decentralized energy production, smart grids, microgrids and energy management systems.