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Filming @ ASTRON for Biostirling for SKA

Submitter: Arnold van Ardenne
Description: Recently, a film crew from Spain came over to ASTRON as partner in the FP7 project BioStirling for SKA (B4S). The emphasis in this project is to see if and how a solar concentrator dish with a Stirling motor in its focus might generate sufficient electrical power to operate a large radio-astronomical installation, for example the SKA. Alternatively, the heat could also be generated through the burning of bio-gas; hence the name BioStirling.

Of course there are many ways to generate sustainable power to research infrastructures like the SKA, each with their own pros and cons. The B4S project has been set up as a system-level approach, but eventually had to seriously cut back on its ambitions for reasons of cost and time. This in itself could of course be seen as a legitimate project outcome, as cost and technological maturity are coupled, and so more work needs to be done to develop the idea. Nevertheless, a single installation will be built at Moura in Portugal, which has been identified long ago as a hot (really!) and excellent low-RFI site for radio astronomy (test) stations.

In preparation for this installation, a movie is being made in which ASTRON features as a modest partner in terms of actual work, but as an important model for the application of renewable energies in radio astronomy. In practice ASTRON will assess the Radio Frequency Interference (RFI) generated by the BioStirling machine in Moura, and its impact on a locally installed test-instrument based on Embrace tiles.

The pictures show ASTRON's Nico Ebbendorf and Wim van Cappellen, under the watchful eyes of Marco de Vos and yours truly, captured in the highly spirited act of explaining how things work in radio astronomy.

No doubt we will brief you on further progress, and report on a renewable future in radio astronomy as much as we can!
Copyright: B4S@ASTRON
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