satellite was successfully launched into space onboard an Ariane 5 launcher
operated by Arianespace from the Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou on October 23rd
by Thales Alenia Space, SES-17 marks an important milestone in satellite
technology as the first Ka-band geostationary satellite to embark a fully
digital payload powered the most powerful digital transparent processor (DTP)
ever placed in orbit.
satellite is equipped with the first ever Mechanically pumped Loop (MPL) to be
mounted on a telecommunication satellite!
MPL is made of a network of pipes and a mechanical pump, which circulates a
refrigerant fluid to collect heat wherever it is created and transport it to
the radiators. This makes it possible to maximise use of the available surface
inside the satellite, to accommodate the repeaters required for large Very High
Throughput Satellite missions.
EHP is proud to have contributed to the development and to have supplied this new generation of heat exchangers.
the 20 years of EHP, this year also marks the beginning of the ‘new EHP’ !
Over the years, EHP has grown from a small 600m² facility to working areas spread over 4 buildings for a total of 4500m².
Enough ? Not at all !
With the major OneSat project arriving, and with our heat pipe production
continuing to double every year, EHP needs much more space.
In 2019, the idea of a
new modern building was put on the table. Two years later, in May 2021, the
work of a brand new 10 000m² facility has begun !
By the beginning of 2023, EHP will have close to 8000m² of industrial areas, including a 2000m² clean room for the assembly of our thermal and deployable systems. Our teams will also be reassembled together in a nice 2000m² office building that will offer a well-being working environment to all of us.
The first part of the
project, the industrial hall and half of the clean room, should be delivered in
the beginning of 2022. The offices and the rest of the clean room should be
available 6 months later, and the final industrial areas for machining and
logistics will close the project in the beginning of 2023.
With these new
facilities, EHP is now ready for the next 20 years !
Most aircraft de-icing systems have to generate power for the heaters. A new alternative efficiently draws heat from the engines.
The formation of ice on aircraft is both commonplace and dangerous. An ice layer on wings and control surfaces can change their shape, potentially affecting the pilot’s control of the aircraft. Ice also adds weight.
Under certain conditions, usually at fairly low altitudes, so-called icing-clouds can contain droplets of water that remain liquid despite their temperature being below freezing. Upon contact with any solid surface, the droplets instantaneously freeze onto the surface. A thick ice layer can form in just seconds. This can be extremely dangerous for small aircraft, which must avoid such clouds completely. Larger aircraft carry de-icing systems.
The main types heat the wing and the engine air intake, via either electric elements or a hot-air system. Although such systems work reliably, they are very energy-hungry, consuming up to 40 % of the total power the aircraft produces. Any reduction in energy consumption would mean significant financial savings for the aircraft operator.
Putting waste heat to use
The EU-funded PIPS project developed a new kind of heating system. Instead of generating heat at great cost, the system transfers waste heat from the engines to the engine air intake. Thus it is highly efficient. The system is initially intended for the air-intake part of medium-sized turboprop aircraft.
However, it could eventually be adapted to any aircraft having hot engines near the wings, meaning virtually any aircraft. The patent-pending system is called Capillary Pumped Loop. “This is a closed circuit in which circulates a fluid – methanol – which is always at saturation,” explains project coordinator, Romain Rioboo. “That means it’s always around the point of phase change between liquid and vapour.”
The engine supplies heat to the evaporator, which evaporates the liquid. Gaseous methanol circulates to the condenser, where it returns to liquid, releasing heat. The liquid circles back to the evaporator via a capillary wick, which is a passive pump. The physics of the phase change between liquid and gas means that the liquid can absorb and transport a large amount of heat.
So the system is very efficient, using engine heat that would otherwise be wasted. This saves having to generate large amounts of heat as in conventional de-icing systems.
Good progress so far
The project has achieved technology readiness level 5. The concept has been demonstrated, but the technology still needs some refinement. Researchers initially planned to use off-the-shelf components. However, problems encountered along the way required design of a completely new system.
This was successful but caused delays. “We have yet to change the condenser design to improve heat distribution on the surface of the engine intake,” adds Rioboo, “and test the change before envisaging flight tests.” However, in laboratory and icing wind tunnel testing, the project achieved effective heat transfer in a full-size model engine setup and transported up to 10 kilowatts of heat under icing conditions.
This exceeds the requirements for a de-icing system. Further development is uncertain. If that takes place, the outcome will be a cheap and efficient aircraft de-icing solution.
Based on SABCA’s Two-phase departement and the impulse of Pr. Jean-Claude Legros of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, EHP’s was born on the 30th of March 2001 with the vision to conquer the enormous potential of Two-Phase technology in space applications.
With the addition of more than 20 years of SABCA’s knowledge and heritage, EHP boasts at least 40 years of experience and expertise.
Today, as a subsidiairy of Airbus Defence & Space and the support of the SRIW and SOGEPA, EHP is the European leader for the delivery of cooling solutions for space applications.
With its EN9100 certification and decidated in house facilities, we have expanded the product porfolio to 3 major product branches :
Heat pipes (CCHP & VCHP)
Thermal Systems (using loop heat pipes)
In its 20 years of history, EHP has grown to become in 2021 a company employing close to 100 highly skilled people.
In the next year, we hope to share with you a piece of this history with a monthly bulletin.
And of course, we will be rocking our new logo until March 2022 !
The EU funded projects PIPS and I3PS targeted the energy saving of planes, within the Cleansky 2 research program, by developing a new anti-icing system.
Both projects enabled to develop a new technology (PIPS) and to test it under relevant environment (I3PS).
This new concept uses wasted heat from the engine to bring it to the Engine Air Intake zone of turbo propeller planes which must be protected against icing.
The project PIPS developed a new system of Capillary Pumped Loop (CPL, patent pending) to be used to protect against icing the engine air intake of a mid size turboprop aircraft using hot air as heat source.
The system was tested in laboratory with a 1:1 scale model (TRL4) showing heat transport capability exceeding the requirements (7.2 kW transport weighting less than 10kg). Able to adapt to various flight situations, the CPL is automatically controlled and almost completely passive as it spends less than 2% of the transported heat for this.
Within the frame of the I3PS project, the concept was modified to integrate the condenser within the skin itself of the Engine Air Intake. Finally, the prototype was tested for the first time in an Icing Wind Tunnel. With an icing air from ambient to -30°C and airspeed from 0 to 80m/s, the concept was able to transport up to 8.8kW and showed the potential for use as ice protection (test showed that high accretion areas needed a fine detail which was not possible to finish during the project).
With the unique possibility of
controlling the working temperature of the fluid in the system loop,
independently of the hot source, the concept is validated in a relevant
environment and adaptable to many applications.
The Eurostar Neo Deployment and Pointing System, developed by Airbus Defense and Space (F) and Euro Heat Pipes (B) in the frame of ESA’s Neosat Partnership Project, is qualified and ready for flight.
The new Airbus Defense and Space Eurostar Neo satellite product line offers one of the largest communication payload capacities on the world market. This is in particular enabled by the Deployment and Pointing System which repositions the electric thrusters throughout the mission to optimise system performance.
The Deployment and Pointing System, developed by Airbus Defense and Space (F) and EHP (B), under test in Airbus Toulouse facility (Image credit: Airbus Defense and Space)
Qualification testing of the Deployable and Pointing System has recently been completed, covering all aspects of environmental, functional and performance requirements, including hold-down, release, and arm deployment sequences. In-orbit validation is planned in 2021, on-board the first Eurostar Neo mission.
Fourteen Neosat satellites have now been ordered, demonstrating the high economic impact of ESA’s Partnership Projects, which also foster the development of sustainable end-to-end systems up to in-orbit validation.
The objective of the Neosat Partnership Projects is to develop and qualify the next generation platforms allowing the two European satellite prime integrators, Airbus DS and Thales Alenia Space (TAS) to deliver competitive satellites for the commercial satellite market. The projects include development up to in-orbit validation of the new platform product lines for both Prime contractors, Eurostar Neo for Airbus DS and Spacebus Neo for Thales Alenia Space.
On telecommunication applications, the Heat Pipes are used in different ways. They can collect heat from several dissipative equipment in order to either spread the heat over large radiator panel or transport heat from hot area to cold area.
Use of Direct Manufacturing technology for manufacturing heat pipes is not foreseen to improve mass or cost at piece part level. The improvement will come from an optimization between the Heat Pipe heat transport capacity and the Heat Pipe heat transfer performance. A large amount of Heat Pipes are used to transfer efficiently heat through the spacecraft. There are several ways to dissipate heat from spacecraft internal equipment’s using heat pipes. The objective of this project has been to study and develop a heat transfer technology based on Heat Pipes and the benefits of direct manufacturing technology in order to improve the standard HP performances and improve heat collection, heat transport and heat spreading. The proposed concept has been implemented in a representative configuration of dissipative payload mounted on inner spacecraft floor which reject its heat to the radiator walls.
The main challenges were:
to identify the main requirements and potential benefits of the new technology;
to define the new product: Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) Heat Pipes (HP);
to bind the ALM parts and extruded HP parts;
to quantify the advantage of these newly combined HP system which integrate ALM parts in classical HP;
to identify possible applications of this improvement.
The newly assembly:
Enables much larger interface between heat source and the HP as it incorporates spreader capabilities;
Reduce dimensions in case of non-linear HP;
Has better thermal performance than classical HP (overall conductivity);
Enables more complex designs of heat transfer systems.
The product tested are two different configurations of linking between classically extruded HP and ALM HP which are compared to classical HP linking. The larger linking part between these new types of HP made by ALM and classical HP, enables larger heat exchange surface area. This explains the large benefit in terms of thermal performance. The additive manufacturing technique enables to design the ALM HP with much more possibilities: it removes some limitation due to the extrusion technique.
Three architectures were tested which involves 3 inline HP each:
3 classically extruded HP;
2 extruded in parallel at hot source, 2 at cold sink and 1 larger ALM linked HP in between;
1 extruded in parallel at hot source, 1 at cold sink and 1 larger ALM linked HP in between;
The following main stages have been successfully run:
Material and process test;
Manufacturing Engineering Model (EM);
EM results correlation;
Proposal for further work.
At the end of the project, concept of ALM HP have been successfully demonstrated to be useful and highly performant. The partners have benefit from a significant gain in ALM process knowledge that will enable short term consideration of this technology on flight opportunities.
Additional development activities must be performed in order to finalize some processes essentially in terms of design to costs aspects.
Several ongoing projects are looking intensively on this technology to be baselined in the thermal / mechanical architecture of the platform and / or instrument.
SEVERAL THOUSAND NOVEL HEAT PIPES ARE NOW BEING PRODUCED EACH YEAR BY BELGIAN COMPANY EURO HEAT PIPES, FOLLOWING ITS PARTICIPATION IN ESA’S EUROSTAR NEO PARTNERSHIP PROJECT.
Working with satellite manufacturer Airbus, Eurostar Neo is dedicated to developing, qualifying and validating Airbus’ next-generation satellite platform for the core satellite communications market.
Because this new generation of satellite is larger and more powerful than the previous one, it has driven demand for further innovation in thermal control technologies while answering market needs for ever improved cost competitiveness and shortened satellite manufacturing schedules.
Airbus and ESA selected Euro Heat Pipes in Belgium to provide a reliable supply of thousands of heat pipes to transport the heat from the hottest parts of the satellite to the cool areas radiating to deep space. The challenge was huge as it involved a wide range of shapes, lengths and performance specifications as well as kilometres of heat pipes needed for each Eurostar Neo satellite.
The development and preparation for such a large-scale production of a wide range of heat pipes required significant financial investment by industry. Being part of a large-scale ESA Partnership Project such as Eurostar Neo reduces the risk to industry’s investment and offers a direct opportunity for in-orbit validation.
Through this project, Euro Heat Pipes has grown its production capacity from a few hundred to several thousands of heat pipes per year. The company has also recruited several additional staff and improved its product standardisation.
Heat pipes ready for delivery
The successful collaboration has helped Euro Heat Pipes to grow into a competitive, reliable, high-volume capacity supplier of a large heat pipe portfolio on the world market.
Eurostar Neo is part of ESA’s ARTES (Advanced Research in Telecommunications Systems) Programme element Neosat to develop and qualify two new satellite product lines, one with Airbus and one with Thales Alenia Space, enabling the European space industry to deliver commercially competitive satellites in the 3 – 6 tonnes launch mass range. The programme includes the in-orbit validation of the new platforms. To date 12 satellites have been sold, enabling a projected return on investment for participating states exceeding €20 for every €1 invested.
Neosat is a joint undertaking between ESA and the French Space Agency (CNES) with joint programme management and contributions from several member states, including Belgium.
As a socially responsible Company, we pay special attention to the evolution of the Covid-19 and to our employees and partners protection.
As a consequence, EHP has decided to strictly follow the rules and decisions communicated by the Belgian Authorities.
For the moment, activity is maintained on a 4/5 reduced schedule with special distancing restrictions.
This activity is programmed to continue until May the 3rd with possible extension to May 17th depending on Belgium’s federal government decision to extend currently applied containment conditions in Belgium.
Our teams remain at your disposal should you have possible questions regarding our activities at this stage.