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Energy Transitions Research at the University of Cambridge

New research will use space telescopes to monitor energy efficiency of buildings

The University of Cambridge is one of 21 organisations awarded a share of over £7 million in funding meant to put the UK at the forefront of the latest advances in space innovation.

The funding will support companies and universities with radical ideas for how we tackle climate change through earth observation or address satellite communications challenges, from providing greater connectivity to remote places to increasing the efficiency of our homes.

Dr Ian Parry from Cambridge’s Institute of Astronomy has been awarded funding for high-resolution thermal infrared space telescopes for monitoring the energy efficiency of buildings. Thermal infrared (TIR) earth observation telescopes in low earth orbit can monitor the energy output of buildings. Parry and his collaborators will build and develop a prototype for the continuous alignment required for a space telescope, as well as developing end-user climate change cases for TIR telescope. 

This technology can give us a global health check to let us know if the world is on target to meet its carbon emissions targets. It also makes it clear who needs to act and what they have to do if the targets aren’t being met,"

Dr Ian Parry, Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge 

The technology will identify anything bigger than about five metres across that is using large amounts of energy, such as buildings, houses, aircraft, ships or trucks. Businesses, universities and research organisations were awarded co-funding for projects that will help the space sector create new high-skill jobs, while developing new skills and technologies on UK soil. Grants from the £15 million funding pot range from between £170,000 and £1.4 million per project.

Read the full University of Cambridge article.


Image credit: NASA