Energy Capture and Creation Database
This installment of our SpaceFund Reality (SFR) rating is focused on energy capture and creation. The space environment is both energy rich and energy demanding. While exposed objects are bathed in sunlight that is easily convertable into electricity, in shadowed regions temperatures plummet and additional power is needed (or storage systems – covered in another SFR). Thus what might work for a spacecraft situated in full-time sunlight will not suffice for a Moon operation spending half its time in the frigid darkness of lunar night.
When demands are much larger or the ability to collect sunlight is challenging or periodic, nuclear power systems are appropriate. Fuel cells can work in all environments, but require a source of hydrogen and oxygen and the ability to store both elements. These may also be available on-site once we develop the ability to harvest space resources such as ice on the Moon or near Earth asteroids. Nuclear power is the most efficient and self contained answer to energy in space, but has obvious safety challenges – especially before and during launch from Earth.
Another consideration is the needed infrastructure per watt of energy. For a solar power based system to produce the same output as a nuclear source, large and complex structures need to be not only built, but designed so as to be able to orient towards the sun. Thus, just as on Earth, different approaches are being applied to different use cases in space. In the same vein, for a long time space proponents have suggested we develop solar or nuclear power systems in Earth orbit that would beam their energy down to the surface. While beaming energy down to Earth may be a long way off, the underlying systems may come online in space much sooner.
There are also other possible energy sources in space, be it the much vaunted Helium 3 (which unfortunately requires functional fusion energy technology to be of much use), or the very simple use of the difference in hot and cold to power steam turbines. For now however, most applications are for smaller mobile systems. At SpaceFund we believe that the eventual winners will not be based on a specific type of energy production, but on the overall simplicity, modularity, and scalability of the solution.
The Energy Capture and Creation SpaceFund Reality rating (SFR) is a detailed database of nearly 30 companies from all over the world that are either actively creating, or planning to create, technology and services to improve energy capture or creation in space. Each company has been assigned an SFR rating based on our analysis, publicly available data, and expert insights.
If you haven’t already, please consult our SpaceFund Reality (SFR) ratings page to learn more about the rating, its purpose, and the underlying formula, as well as to view a complete list of the SpaceFund sectors of interest.
How to Use This Table
Sort: Click on the column heading to sort A-Z; click again to sort Z-A.
Search: To search within the entire table, simply type your query into the search area at the top right of the table. If you’d like to search within a specific column, use the search box at the bottom of that column.
Download: You can download this table as an Excel or CSV file by using the icons at the top of the table. You can also print the table.
Screen Size: The database is too big to fit on most screens, so you’ll need to use the scroll bar at the bottom of your screen to scroll right to see additional columns, and continuing scrolling down to see all companies.
Important Note (Alpha Sort Columns vs Numeric Sort Columns): In the Power, Power Density, and Specific Power columns, any figure listed as a “0” is simply a placeholder for unavailable data. This is due to the nature of this table format, and to ensure that the columns sort properly, a numeric character must be included in each cell. So, for example, if a company is listed to have a Power of “0” this simply means that this information is not publicly available and the “0” acts as a replacement for “N/A”.
The Funding and Efficiency columns are set to sort alphabetically. Since these columns contains alphabetic characters in some cells, they will sort alphabetically, not numerically and so the “-” character has been used to represent unavailable data. All other columns in the table will also sort alphabetically.
Important Note (Companies not Products): This database, and the SpaceFund Reality ratings, are based on COMPANIES, not specific products or technologies.
How to Provide Updated Data
Have we missed your company? Do you feel that your company should have a different rating? Is the listed data inaccurate or outdated? Do you see missing data for your company? The best way to update your information in this database is to reach out to us directly to provide additional information about your technology, management team, funding history, and company progress. We are also eager to learn about any additional data sources that can help us in our ongoing research, so please feel free to share any resources you know of with our team.
Updates will be published as new information becomes available.
SpaceFund Reality (SFR) Rating
Energy Capture and Creation Database
Last Update: 13 January 2021
|wdt_ID||Company||SFR||Type||Application||Location||Power (kWe)||Power Density (W/m^2)||Specific Power (W/kg)||Efficiency (%)||Funding ($M)||Country||HQ Location||Description|
|175||AZUR Space||9||Solar||Spacecraft||Deep Space; Earth Orbit||0||0||0||32%||-||Germany||Heilbronn||Creating deployable solar array solutions for space missions|
|176||SolAero Technologies||9||Solar||Spacecraft||Deep Space; Earth Orbit||0||0||0||32%||-||USA||Albuquerque, NM||Leading supplier of innovative flexible blanket and rigid panel solar array systems|
|177||MicroLink Devices||8||Solar||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit||0||250||3,000||37%||-||USA||Niles, IL||Developing nuclear reactor designs for future space mission applications|
|178||MMA Design||8||Solar||Spacecraft||Deep Space; Earth Orbit||20||70||270||29%||-||USA||Louisville, CO||Developing next-generation static and dynamic power systems|
|179||Deployable Space Systems||7||Solar||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit; Mars; Moon||0||0||0||-||-||USA||Santa Barbara, CA||Developing energy generation technologies to facilitate commercialization of the Moon|
|180||DHV Technology||7||Solar||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit||0||0||0||-||-||Spain||Málaga||Developing a conceptual heat-pipe reactor design for space travel|
|181||Roccor||7||Solar||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit||0||0||0||-||-||USA||Longmont, CO||Developing scalable, modular and flexible power and energy products and systems|
|182||BWX Technologies||6||Nuclear||Spacecraft||Deep Space; Mars||200||0||0||-||Public||USA||Lynchburg, VA||Developing the Aurora microreactor|
|183||Creare||6||Other||Spacecraft||-||1||0||0||26%||-||USA||Hanover, NH||Developing hydrogen fuel cell technology for lunar exploration, similar to that used in the Toyota Mirai|
|184||Lunar Resources||6||Solar||Spacecraft; Surface||Earth Orbit; Moon||0||0||1,000||-||-||USA||Houston, TX||Commercializing nuclear technology for space development applications|
|Company||SFR||Type||Application||Location||Power (kWe)||Power Density (W/m^2)||Specific Power (W/kg)||Efficiency (%)||Funding ($M)||Country||HQ Location||Description|
SpaceFund Sectors of Interest
SpaceFund is interested in a number of sectors of the space economy, specifically Transportation, Communication, Human Factors, Supplies, and Energy. In the coming months we will post SFR ratings for companies from all of these sectors, providing a robust overview of the state of frontier-enabling companies across the industry. Please check back frequently to view new sub-sector databases, and sign up to receive our emails to be notified of each new release.
Click on the black buttons below to view the available SFR databases.