DEWA with NanoAvionics to provide nanosatellites to support the digitalisation of Dubai

Photo credit: DEWA

Vilnius, Lithuania, 22 December 2021 – Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has selected NanoAvionics, a smallsat manufacturer and mission integrator company, to design, build, test, and manage the launching of two nanosatellites 3U (IoT payload) and 6U (earth observation payload) .

The services supplied by NanoAvionics also include operation, knowledge transfer and training. This is part of DEWA’s Space-D programme that seeks to enhance operational efficiency and reliability, and promote preventive maintenance for the planning, generation, transmission and distribution of electricity and water networks.

Through this programme, DEWA aims to lead the industry in improving the operations, maintenance and planning of its networks with the support of nanosatellite technology. Space-D supports DEWA’s grid digitalisation programme by using Internet of Things (IoT) and remote sensing technologies.

Also through this programme and the expertise of NanoAvionics, DEWA intends to enhance its flexibility and agility in monitoring and managing its electrical and water networks. With Space-D, DEWA expects to reduce costs, improve its asset utilisation and provide sustainable, efficient and reliable power and water services to its customers.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director & CEO of DEWA says, “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, launched DEWA’s space programme, Space-D. The programme aims to build DEWA’s capabilities and train Emirati professionals to use space technologies to enhance its electricity and water networks. The programme will take advantage of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as the IoT, artificial intelligence (AI), and blockchain to exchange information with the help of satellite communications and earth observation technologies.

“DEWA’s space programme will contribute to enhancing the UAE’s global competitiveness and strategic partnerships in the national space sector as well as paving the way for a new phase of Emirati capabilities in space exploration, technology and related industries that will be used to strengthen electricity and water networks in Dubai. The programme will enhance the performance and efficiency of the photovoltaic solar panels at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the single-site solar park. The project also supports the National Space Strategy 2030, which aims to realise the leadership’s vision by using space sciences, technologies, applications and related services to enhance development.”

In line with its digital transformation, DEWA will use a 3U satellite with an IoT payload as well as a 6U satellite with an earth observation (EO) payload from NanoAvionics. Using satellite network connectivity, IoT terminals, satellite imagery and applying AI to the captured data will bring greater efficiency and effectiveness to DEWA’s operations, maintenance and planning. The agreement with NanoAvionics also includes launch management, construction of the ground station, and an extensive training programme for Emirati professionals to facilitate know-how transfer and support in expanding DEWA’s future space capabilities.

Vytenis J Buzas

“This is a fantastic project for NanoAvionics to be involved in and a great example of how satellite technology improves our lives and helps us to become more sustainable,” says Vytenis J Buzas, co-founder and CEO of NanoAvionics. “The knowledge transfer, in addition to satellite integration and mission operations for DEWA, also shows the capabilities and value that our expert team can bring to our customers. Our team has been part of more than 90 missions, including four successfully launched missions this year, and has previous experience in sharing its skills and knowledge through programmes with other international customers.”

DEWA Solar Park (photo credits – DEWA)

DEWA’s Space-D project includes the launch of a satellite constellation to support its primary satellite. These will be manufactured by Emiratis at the Research and Development (R&D) Centre of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. The system features a ground station at the solar park as well as IoT and AI technologies to support ground communication transmission stations in electricity and water networks.

By deploying this infrastructure, DEWA seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its planning and operations, and enhance preventive maintenance at its production, transmission, distribution divisions as well as its smart grids, and electric vehicle charging stations. Multi-spectrum, high-resolution thermal imaging devices such as those used on board spacecraft, specifically designed for use in electricity and water networks, will be deployed to detect thermal fingerprints in high voltage transmission lines, substations, buildings and solar power stations.

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