Powering the moon: Sandia researchers design microgrid for future lunar base

Thu, 12 May 2022 05:31:14 GMT
Space Daily

Albuquerque NM (SPX) May 12, 2022 Sandia National Laboratories is well-known for designing reliable...

Sandia National Laboratories is well-known for designing reliable and resilient microgrids for military bases and vital city services.

One part of the Sandia team, that includes Lee Rashkin and Dave Wilson, is designing an electrical system controller for the mining and processing center's microgrid.

"There are some very important differences between something like an ISS-type microgrid to something that has the extent of a moon base," Flicker said.

"We have a specialized Secure Scalable Microgrid facility and control-system-design methodology that analyzes this. The facility also has specialized energy storage emulators that can help us determine the specifications for how much energy storage the base needs and their requirements."

The Secure Scalable Microgrid Testbed is a unique Sandia research facility the team will use to fine-tune their control system.

They will also use the testbed to study questions about power system controllers and the interactions between distributed energy resources, energy storage and power electronics on a DC microgrid that is a scaled and simplified representation of the eventual lunar microgrid, Rashkin said.

"It Takes Two" microgrids The second major focus of the Sandia researchers is developing the system that will connect the mining facility and habitation unit microgrids for resiliency and robustness.

"Usually, we have some combination of those two, where it's oversized to some extent, but you are also able to flexibly route power how you need to within a microgrid or between independent, yet cooperative microgrids like we're exploring for the moon," Flicker said.

The team will also use the Emera DC microgrid on Kirtland Air Force Base to see how a power-electronic-heavy system can operate and port power as needed in low-energy contingency scenarios, Flicker said.

The payloads include a landing camera, a panoramic camera, a lunar mineralogical spectrometer and a lunar regolith penetrating radar, said the CNSA. Public users can visit the website of China's Lunar and Planetary Data Release System to obtain the datasets, the CNSA added.