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  • Satellite Evolution

Innovative thermal imaging technology piloted at Surrey Research Park


UK space and climate tech company, Satellite Vu, is putting its thermal imaging satellite technology to the test in a partnership with Surrey Research Park that will see the earth observation specialists perform a series of flights across the 70 acre landscape to map the built environment and provide data on the level of heat loss across buildings in the park.

Due to launch in June 2023, Satellite Vu’s technology will provide temperature data of any structure on the planet in near real time to determine valuable insights into economic activity, energy efficiency and carbon footprint - enabling businesses to make more informed decisions on how to decarbonise the built environment. Ahead of their first satellite being launched, Satellite Vu are working with businesses and institutions like Surrey Research Park to test and validate their technology.

Currently buildings consume 40% of all energy use, therefore finding the most inefficient ones and retrofitting these can help accelerate our journey to carbon neutrality in a quick and cost-effective way. The Research Park is part of the University of Surrey which has set an ambitious target of being Net Zero by 2030. As part of Surrey Research Park’s Net Zero ambitions, the award winning science and innovation park is aiming to improve the energy efficiency of its real estate. The partnership will help SRP plan and undertake building retrofits supported by the insight provided by Satellite Vu’s thermal imagery.

Using thermal data, Satellite Vu will provide a pattern of life Thermal Index for the Park’s buildings. Combined with energy consumption and other information, the Thermal Index will provide an indication of how efficient the structure is, identify where heat is being wasted and guide where energy improvement retrofit investment will have the biggest impact.

The work with Surrey Research Park will see a five-stage programme of activities conducted by Satellite Vu’s data engineering and R&D teams, consisting of an aerial thermal imaging campaign, data processing, thermal analysis, energy consumption modelling and interactive real-time data presentation.

Anthony Baker, Founder & CEO, Satellite Vu: “As governments and businesses model the road to Net Zero, satellite technology will be a critical asset due to its scalability and the comparability of the data. Satellite data already contributes to 50% of all climate change metrics, and we believe our infrared data set will be game changing in monitoring how human infrastructure is affected. We are hoping we can provide precise, repeatable and verifiable facts as to where the biggest decarbonisation impact can be made. Our project with Surrey Research Park represents a scalable solution to this issue; opening opportunities at every UK campus or industrial park, and providing a blueprint for housing associations and portfolio owners. We’re extremely pleased to partner with Surrey Research Park who are supporting us to pioneer this thermal solution.”

Grant Bourhill, CEO, Surrey Research Park: “We’re thrilled to be working with Satellite Vu. The benefits of their thermal satellite imaging technology are clear, and this project will support us in reaching our Net Zero aims by providing insight into the energy efficiency of our buildings, pinpointing where improvements need to be made and enabling us to plan our retrofit for optimum impact in the most time-efficient, cost-effective manner.”

Professor Paul Monks, Chief Scientific Advisor, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero: “We are excited to see the innovative work of UK-based satellite design and manufacture applied in this innovative trial. The Government is committed to achieve Net Zero by 2050 and currently the building sector is a major contributor to our GHG emissions. Improving the thermal performance of existing buildings through identification of problem areas and retrofitting is an essential part of the required action. Satellite Vu’s unique technology is something that has been backed by the UK Government through the UK Space Agency’s NSIP programme, and we look forward to seeing them progress towards launch.”

The data produced will be used to validate the park’s Energy Performance Certificates (EPC) and inform the progression of the retrofitted upgrades required for the buildings to be compliant with proposed legislation by the end of the decade. Currently around 220 million buildings in Europe do not meet the EPC requirements needed by 2030 - serving as validation of how Satellite Vu’s thermal satellite data can support energy efficiency improvements of buildings in a dedicated drive towards Net Zero.

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