Eon has announced it is working with the European Space Agency (ESA) and earth observation specialist Astrosat to use satellite imaging data in a bid to tackle fuel poverty and carbon emissions.
The project will use near real-time and archived data gathered from orbiting satellites – including optical sources, thermal-infrared for heat mapping and air quality and pollution tracking.
It will be combined with Astrosat’s ThermCERT software to help tackle issues such as housing conditions and insulation, air quality, and even traffic management.
When the data is cross-matched with existing housing or data on vulnerable customers the platform will provide local authorities with a street-level view of where improvements are most needed. This means they can better target their approaches to upgrading housing stock, optimising energy efficiency installations, improving air quality or easing congestion across communities.
Currently energy efficiency programmes rely on home visits or doorstep mailings to talk directly to customers and analyse their specific needs. More data can be captured using satellite technology meaning a more accurate picture can be created quickly, improving the success rate of installation works.
The system is expected to be developed for around 18 months, including a city-scale trial.
Greg Clark, business secretary, said: “This government-backed technology could boldly go where no technician in a van has gone before, with the potential to pinpoint households in fuel poverty or those at risk.
“Matched with government data, this heat mapping technology could mean less time spent on the road and more time dedicated to upgrading homes though our £6 billion energy efficiency Eco [Energy Company Obligation] scheme – the sky’s the limit.
“This is our modern industrial strategy in motion, with our world-leading space sector showing how innovation can deliver practical solutions to real-life issues.”
Eon’s UK chief executive, Michael Lewis, said the project is about using the “endless possibilities” of space to deliver real benefits on the ground.
He added: “This truly innovative and exciting project is about harnessing the power of space, alongside our experience working with local authorities and delivering real change in terms of fuel poverty and carbon emissions, to help reduce heat loss and unnecessary energy expenditure in regional areas across the UK.
“This is a UK trial at this stage but all involved have the ambition to prove the benefits across countries and continents to help create a better tomorrow.”
Eon and Astrosat expect the product to be ready for use in a UK pilot by the third quarter of 2019.
Water companies are also using satellite technology to detect leaks.
Earlier this month Yorkshire Water announced the first stage of its £300,000 satellite leak detection trial has been “hugely successful” and has saved 0.5 megalitres of water per day.
The company has been using satellites normally used for detecting water on other planets to detect leakages in its area.
Yorkshire Water’s innovation team funded and managed the project, which has helped the leakage team across Huddersfield and Dewsbury to find double the number of leaks compared to traditional methods been used, saving 0.5 megalitres of water per day.