Astrocast participates in EU’s CiROCCO initiative – Brings satellite IoT connectivity to under-sampled desert areas

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Astrocast, the global nanosatellite IoT network operator, has announced its participation in the European Union (EU) funded CiROCCO initiative. CiROCCO forms a key part of the EU’s Horizon Europe Progamme, a funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion.

The CiROCCO research project aims to establish a low-cost and sustainable network of electronic sensing nodes in under-sampled desert areas and ecosystems in Egypt, Serbia and Spain. Astrocast will be involved in CiROCCO’s Benban solar farm project in Egypt, where satellite IoT (SatIoT) will support with renewable energy systems (RES) planning.

CiROCCO project objectives

CiROCCO was founded on March 1, 2023. Over the next three years, a consortium of twelve organisations, including universities, governments, NGOs and enterprises will drive the initiative forward. Key objectives include:

  • To provide high-quality data for the research community to use to enhance climate change models and support the European Green Deal challenges. 
  • Integrating and assimilating in-situ data with Earth Observation data coming from the EU’s Copernicusprogramme – which is the Earth observation component of the EU’s Space programme, looking at our planet and its environment, to benefit all European citizens. Importantly, it offers information services that draw from satellite Earth Observation and in-situ (non-space) data.
  • Accelerate the wider community's adoption of CiROCCO tools and services that are developed to maximise impact and success for participating parties. 
    Benban solar farm project, Egypt

Broadly speaking, CiROCCO aims to collect data from low-cost, stand-alone, electronic sensing nodes, in addition to higher-quality, off-the-self, sensing stations and medium-cost portable sun photometers through mobile monitoring devices.  Astrocast’s involvement here will primarily focus on a Renewable Energy Systems (RES) Planning pilot project at the Benban solar farm, Egypt. Astrocast’s SatIoT connectivity will allow data transmission to take place in this remote location between the various sensors and their operational teams, enabling them to transmit, access and interpret the data they need.

For example, sensor information that is transmitted via Astrocast’s SatIoT will be used to deliver a data modelling infrastructure. This will enable this project to manage energy and optimise production more effectively. It includes tracking solar radiation measurements – to harmonise this with actual power production, for data assimilation into solar energy models and for forecasting purposes.

Wind speed and direction will be tracked. This will help provide information about dust forecasting and load estimation. Dust modelling will be compared with air quality quantification. Temperature and humidity of the solar panels will be monitored too, and this will help the operator to ensure optimal operating conditions and manage maintenance alerts relating to solar panel efficiency.

The Benban solar farm will also use the information that it gathers about real power and energy production to validate the observational and modelling approaches that are being deployed. As a result, the project hopes to develop a sophisticated, dedicated energy management system for the Benban solar project – and a more powerful model that other organisations can learn from, replicate and apply to other solar farms in Egypt and across the world.

Fabien Jordan, CEO, Astrocast says, "Astrocast is dedicated to providing global IoT connectivity. We are proud to be part of the CiROCCO initiative, and to contribute our expertise to establish a low-cost and sustainable network of electronic sensing nodes in under-sampled desert areas. 

“We believe that the data generated from this initiative will play a crucial role in enhancing climate change models and supporting the European Green Deal challenges. Furthermore, by participating in the Renewable Energy Systems Planning pilot project in Egypt, we aim to leverage our satellite technology to optimise energy production and contribute to developing a dedicated energy management system for the Benban solar project and beyond."

The consortium of organisations participating in the CiROCCO research project will collaborate closely with post-project operating entities to achieve the critical objectives of the CiROCCO project.

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