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EC FP7 Biostirling for SKA project

Submitter: Arnold van Ardenne
Description: Since around 2013, a novel renewable energy concept has been explored by 14 institutes and companies, supported by EC's FP7. Dubbed Biostirling for SKA (or B4S in short) it aims at showing that this concept could generate a stable power level for (among others) radio astronomy, using focused solar energy in combination with biogas. The project started as an ambitious system approach, with up to 8 telescopes. But given the novelty and costs, we had to settle for a single demonstrator, that nevertheless works! So all participants were invited to a final meeting on April 27 in Moura/Contenda, Portugal, to contemplate success in this remote, hot and radio-quiet area.

2 boxes with equipment were shipped to the Polytechnic Institute of Beja, where Nuno Pereira took care of the shipment. Because our Nico Ebbendorf was in China for the NCLE project, our former colleague Dion Kant flew in to take over. He was joined by Domingos Barbosa from IT Aveiro, Portugal. Since the Biostirling engine was still undergoing finishing touches, only limited RFI testing could be done. Rob Millenaar (ASTRON) and others did site tests earlier and the MPIfR did so at the Swedish company delivering the machine.

The pictures give some flavor of site and tests, and the general excitement. I was happily surprised that the power stabilized at about 4kW, using Sun plus gas in any combination (note the cloudiness at the time). One of the pictures shows Domingos and Dion in front of the tent that was used as cover for the equipment! Another picture gives an impression of the telescope control box, naming all participants and on another those who were involved in front of the system at large.

See www.biostirling.com for more info on the project that has now entered its final reporting stage. Very soon an educational movie will appear explaining more. Hopefully, follow-up projects will emerge, allowing us to savour the great hospitality of the Portuguese, plus the favourable conditions of the Contenda (test)site!
Copyright: ASTRON
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