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Building-Integrated Photovoltaics for a Habitat on Mars: A Design Proposal Based on the Optimal Location and Placement of Integrated Solar Cells
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The ever-increasing challenges that we face with our consumption of resources on Earth are factors which have prompted researchers to show interest in studying the possibilities of human habitat on other celestial bodies. Mars is a stone planet and is at such distance from the sun that it could be feasible for future settlements with the right technology and solutions. Future missions to Mars rely on solar panels as their primary power system. Utilizing solar architecture is a solution that reduces both a building’s energy consumption and the extent of environmental damage fossil fuels are causing the Earth. This leads to extensive opportunities to explore how we can increase the use of renewable energy using new technologies developed for use on Earth but also for use in the space industry.

 

This study used a qualitative method through literature studies and semi-structured interviews as well as a quantitative method through calculations. The literature study was meant to act as a theoretical base for this study and for the interviews by creating an understanding of the world’s usage of renewable and non-renewable energy sources and how solar power works by the means of photovoltaic cells. The interviews were held to identify the opportunities and obstacles regarding a solar power system on Mars as well as the usage of BIPV (building-integrated photovoltaics) in extreme environments. Mathematical calculations were based on the fundamental geometric shape of a cylinder where the walls were set to be the varying parameter. Six locations on Mars with different coordinates and underlying matters were selected to the study based on the knowledge collected from the literature study and the interviews.

 

Aspects that needs to be considered for building-integrated photovoltaics placed on a building’s envelope on Mars are several. Some of the most crucial are: dust deposition and dust in the atmosphere, a climate with major temperature extremes, the habitats location on the planet and the amount of output energy provided by BIPV partly affected by the Mars-Sun distance. If the fundamental geometric shape of the building is a cylinder, the building’s shape would to form as a truncated cone with smaller wall slopes the closer the equator the habitat is located. If the habitat is placed far away from the equator the walls’ slope, the optimal tilt angle of the photovoltaic module, would be steeper and increase with the higher latitude. The maximized power by using BIPV on a building on Mars is provided as close to the equator as possible due to the big amount of sunlight reaching the surface. If BIPV could be used on the Martian surface is still a relatively extensive hypothesis. Studies about Mars and other planets tend to result in this kind of approach because of the many insecurities that cannot be proven before humans get to the planet or detailed tests have been accomplished and analyzed. A solar power system shows great opportunities for future human missions to Mars but BIPV is not considered an option in the near future without further research and development verifying the option.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Building-integrated solar cells, Solar energy, Mars
National Category
Architecture Energy Systems
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-72753OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-72753DiVA, id: diva2:1284522
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Architectural Engineering, master's level
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-02-15 Created: 2019-01-31 Last updated: 2019-02-15Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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