Japan-based satellite operator SKY Perfect JSAT (SJC) has teamed up with startup Challenergy to deliver satellite communications to remote and mountainous areas, powered by wind energy.
The formal commercial partnership was established after a feasibility study was conducted in September 2017 in the Philippines, a typhoon-prone country where disaster-management is challenging on remote islands.
The partnership will see SJC’s ground stations being powered by wind energy using Challenergy’s Magnus Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (Magnus VAWT), a stable and environmentally-friendly wind turbine which is currently in development. The eventual aim of this partnership is to commercialize a service combining wind power and satellite communications.
The commercial service will be offered to countries or regions with poor access to electricity and satellite communications, and is expected to begin in 2019. SJC has targeted Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands as potential areas for commercial delivery, and also plans to use the service in domestic disaster management.
Currently, the system is being tested in Nanjo City in Okinawa, where SJC’s communication system has been connected with the Magnus VAWT. The system will receive data from JCSAT-2B, a geostationary communications satellite launched in 2016 and which provides communications services to Japan, Asia, Russia, Oceania, and the Pacific Islands.
The demonstration test in Nanjo City began on 10 January 2018 and is expected to conclude on 31 March 2019. As part of the test, the system will be used to provide electricity to the ground station, maintain autonomous Wi-Fi, and to power a separate system which monitors the test unit.