Irish company providing revolutionary new cleantech coating to protect futuristic satellites
ESTEC, 6th January 2016
The Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, today announced that Irish company, ENBIO, are developing solutions to protect the next generation of communications satellites in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA), through their NEOSAT programme. ENBIO’s development work will be worth €300,000 over two years. The announcement was made in Amsterdam during the Enterprise Ireland Trade and Investment Mission to the Netherlands and Germany led by the Taoiseach.
NEOSAT is a programme to enhance the competitiveness of European satellite manufacturers by reducing the cost and weight of their satellites. ENBIO’s coatings are part of the next revolution of cleantech coatings that are REACH compliant, thus giving satellite manufacturers a key strategic advantage.
The work is being funded by ESA and is being carried out in ENBIO’s Dublin and Clonmel centres for the development and production of Thermal Management treatments or ‘sunscreen technology’ for satellites, spacecraft, and space related hardware. ENBIO’s facility in Clonmel was fully funded by ESA through a €1.5m contract and supported by Enterprise Ireland.
Speaking from Amsterdam, the Taoiseach said: “Satellite technology is continuing to transform our lives and our economy. I’m delighted to see Irish companies like ENBIO being centrally involved in the next generation of satellite design with their development of innovative advanced materials. ENBIO are a cutting edge research company and that is evidenced by how quickly their new products are being used in new satellites. Irish companies like ENBIO have developed capability in this sector through the European Space Agency and Enterprise Ireland and I am delighted to see ENBIO’s innovative “sunscreen” solutions contributing to the future of satellite design”.
ENBIO will provide satellites with a more robust surface than is currently available to counter the intense solar radiation encountered in space, thus better protecting satellites and their payloads for the duration of their missions. ENBIO’s proprietary process and coatings have been developed in partnership with Irish Universities, in particular with Dr. Kenneth Stanton of UCD’s School of Materials Science and Engineering. ENBIO’s coatings uniquely combine extreme thermal and ultra-violet radiation stability, robustness and electrical conductivity characteristics.
ENBIO started in the Space Sector through work on ESA’s Solar Orbiter programme, which will launch a satellite to perform close proximity measurements of the Sun. Building on that initial success, ENBIO expanded in size, employing an additional 10 new staff in the last 2 years, and has developed a wider range of solutions for satellite builders in Europe and the US.
ENBIO’s CEO John O’Donoghue said that “the fantastic ability of the team at ENBIO is our real strength. We have developed coatings that are getting global satellite companies highly engaged with us. The team developed solutions so quickly that we are ESA’s fastest adopted hardware ever. We set a new record in how quickly we went from concept to flight hardware, which is a source of immense pride for us.”
The NEOSAT contract was secured through Ireland’s membership of ESA which is managed by Enterprise Ireland. Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland manages Ireland’s membership of the European Space Agency so that innovative companies like ENBIO can access international expertise and funding. This innovation by ENBIO is a world first; a sun screen to protect satellites as they travel closer and closer to the sun. It is a great example of ground-breaking innovation from Irish companies and we are delighted to be part of this Irish business success story”.
ENBIO also offers unique protection to a suite of terrestrial applications including enhanced corrosion resistance and thermal protection within the oil and gas sector and thermal flow solutions within the electronics sector.