Last reviewed 19 January 2021

The Government has announced funding for five new space technology projects to make buildings more energy efficient, reduce carbon emissions from ships and develop land use classification maps to improve agriculture.

The projects delivered via the UK Space Agency, will combine UK business expertise with UK university research, to help build space solutions to global problems and climate change.

One collaborative, project between Absolar Soutions Ltd and the University of Southamption, will further develop Absolar’s Carbon Action Planning Tool by integrating satellite images, solar radiation and LiDAR imaging to provide clearer views of a building’s energy performance. The data can then be used to develop plans for achieving Net-Zero carbon emissions and reduce energy costs, while tracking progress in real time.

Satellite analytics, used in collaboration between the University of Leicester and Redshift Associates Ltd, will track pollution and carbon emissions of ships in coastal and international waters. The project will build on analytics solutions already underway at ports and harbours to establish substantial emissions audits of fleets and vessels at sea.

A joint venture between Trade in Space, Geospace Agriculture and the University of Edinburgh will use satellite data to support the generation of a land use classification map of key agricultural production regions of Malawi.

Commenting on the projects, Science Minister Amanda Solloway, said: “Today’s funding will provide lift off to some of the country’s most ambitious space collaborations, accelerating potentially game-changing technologies that will help the UK respond to global challenges such as cutting carbon emissions.”

The new projects will be facilitated by the national Space Research and Innovation Network for Technology (SPRINT), a scheme specialised to nurture industry/university collaboration. SPRINT focusses on providing SMEs funded access to the expertise and facilities offered by top universities.

Ross Burgon, Head of the national SPRINT programme, said: “We’ve spent the last two years building and demonstrating the efficacy of our approach and this new partnership with the UK Space Agency is a great milestone for us to further our mission to support business growth through university collaboration.”

The space industry sector has grown by over 60% since 2010, with satellite technology already supporting more than £300 billion of the UK’s economic activity.