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Design and Numerical Simulation of a Flywheel Energy Storage System for a Lunar Base Using In-Situ Resources
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This thesis contains research conducted at the ESA European Astronaut Centre in Cologne (Germany), in the framework of the Spaceship EAC project, which aims to perform research in the domains of energy production and storage, in-situ resources utilization, materials and additive manufacturing. In the context of Spaceship EAC's research about energy storage systems for a lunar base, this thesis explores the possibility of building a Flywheel Energy Storage System integrating lunar regolith as flywheel material, adopting the in-situ resource utilization philosophy in order to reduce the mass, cost and risks of a lunar settlement. The literature about flywheel systems is very scarce and the technology is still considered immature. Moreover, none of the systems found in the literature have ever taken into consideration the integration of locally found materials. All research has been conducted autonomously, starting with a long phase of documentation about the lunar environment, lunar material properties and processing methods, focusing on lunar regolith. The design of power systems and energy storage systems has been deeply analysed, producing an estimation of the daily power load profile of a human lunar settlement. The focus has been then directed on the principles of flywheel energy storage. Some design considerations have been made, leading to the first proposed solution, capable of storing 1 kWh of energy using a simple titanium-made support structure, cast regolith blocks and locking elements. A 3D CAD model has been designed in Solidworks and the structure has been analysed using Ansys, a Finite Element Analysis software. Analyses have shown that the system can withstand the loads under static conditions, when only the lunar gravity is applied, but not the loads under dynamic conditions, when also a constant rotational velocity is applied. A second modified design, capable of storing about 2 kWh, having a shorter supporting structure and increasingly bigger regolith blocks has then been designed and analysed, showing that in this more stable configuration the dynamic loads can also be withstood by the structure, with only some criticality in points that need to be re-designed. Further studies are needed to assess the feasibility of a structure of this type. In particular, a transient analysis of the structure during the start and acceleration phases is needed, as well as a modal analysis to assess the vibration modes of the structure. Moreover, a deeper and more accurate study of the behaviour of the lunar regolith blocks under stress has to be performed, as well as further studies regarding crack formation and propagation in this material.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Technology, Moon, In-situ resource utilization, Flywheel energy storage system, Lunar base, Lunar regolith, ISRU, Energy storage, Human spaceflight
Keyword [sv]
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-44292Local ID: 215bdfbf-fddb-4b54-8393-884a341a0c33OAI: diva2:1017568
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20151025 (global_studentproject_submitter)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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