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A Renewable Power System for an Off-grid Sustainable Telescope Fueled by Solar Power, Batteries and Green Hydrogen


A large portion of astronomy’s carbon footprint stems from fossil fuels supplying the power demand of astronomical observatories. Here, we explore various isolated low-carbon power system setups for the newly planned Atacama Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope, and compare them to a business-as-usual diesel power generated system. Technologies included in the designed systems are photovoltaics, concentrated solar power, diesel generators, batteries, and hydrogen storage. We adapt the electricity system optimization model highRES to this case study and feed it with the telescope’s projected energy demand, cost assumptions for the year 2030 and site-specific capacity factors. Our results show that the lowest-cost system with LCOEs of $116/MWh majorly uses photovoltaics paired with batteries and fuel cells running on imported and on-site produced green hydrogen. Some diesel generators run for backup. This solution would reduce the telescope’s power-side carbon footprint by 95% compared to the businessas-usual case.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Norway

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