ESA title

Space Acting for Decarbonisation

  • Activity
  • Opening date 16-05-2022
  • Closing date 09-09-2022

Potential bidders are informed that the deadline for submission of proposals for the above ITT has been extended from 26th August 2022 to 9th September 2022 at 13:00 hrs (Amsterdam time zone).


As the climate crisis looms, it is becoming increasingly important for new services to support the transition into a Green Economy era. There is an unprecedented need to deliver sustainable, green, and inclusive economic growth to meet the challenge of decarbonising our economies. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report released in 2018 states “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” and identified the need for global decarbonisation by 2050. Often termed “net-zero,” “carbon neutral,” or “zero emissions,” these targets range in their emissions scope, timelines, sectors, among other characteristics. Various actors including government businesses, and other organisations have started to adopt emission reduction targets that work towards this goal. 

This funding opportunity is for an enabling study that will aid in understanding the opportunities for space upstream and downstream sectors in support of decarbonisation and guide the next steps on most relevant priorities and topics to be addressed. It will also support the dialogue and establishment of cooperation with customer champions in the key sectors, both public and private sectors, to effectively address complex global challenges and fast-track innovations towards sustainable and commercial solutions for a decarbonised and green economy.


The private sector will be the main actor in providing innovative space-based solutions for decarbonisation. ESA would like to see proposals that focus on any of the following key vertical markets.

Energy and Utilities 
The Energy sector is the highest contributor to Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, with the energy supply sector being the first emitter of GHG in Europe beyond transport and industry. According to the IPCC “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change, the Working Group III contribution”, energy supply account for 34% of GHG emissions. The energy sector has started undergoing a decarbonisation process in multiple countries around the world. The traditional centralised organisation of the energy system is now facing a paradigm shift to distributed and renewable generations targeting net positive environmental impacts. The total decarbonisation target will require a combination of multiple technologies. Depending on local conditions, the mix of available energy options could vary from one country to another, and thus there will be no one-size-fits-all solution. 

Sustainable mobility is considered a priority because all forms of transport account for about 15% of the GHG emissions. The transport sector is very complex and consists of four main segments: roadways, railways, aviation, and navigation. Transport also has strong interactions with other productive sectors and, in order to avoid rebound effects, it requires the power sector to be fully decarbonised and the cradle-to-grave energy supply chain to become increasingly efficient.  

Buildings represent an estimated 6% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Busy, dynamic, and economically productive cities account for nearly three-quarters of global energy consumption. Housing (mainly energy related matters) is a priority announced in the green deal for a fair and sustainable transition since it is the 1st largest expenditure of European households (fight against energy poverty). The goal of total decarbonisation in the building sector includes the construction of new buildings and districts with zero or almost zero energy consumption from fossil fuels and the total renovation of existing buildings with the same net zero carbon standards. 

The industry sector consumes over 92 billion metric tonnes of resources annually and contributes to 24% of GHG emissions. Heavy industry emits a large share of GHG emissions, because industrial processes employ high temperatures and depend on high energy densities to enable the chemical processes involved. Fully decarbonising such complicated and integrated industrial environments requires a multidimensional approach. 

Food Production 
Agriculture is the world's largest industry. Together, agriculture, forestry and other land use are responsible for 22% of GHG emissions. This is because of the way agricultural goods are produced, as well as the land use change, they trigger when forests or peatlands are cleared to cultivate crops or graze cattle. Decarbonising agricultural requires change in production practices and minimising land use change.


Space-enabled applications can support industries and society to accelerate towards decarbonisation. Listed below are the non-exhaustive list of primary value-adding space technologies and services which can help reach the decarbonisation targets for the sectors discussed such as transport, energy, buildings, industry, and food production.

Satellite Communication (SatCom)
SatCom can significantly support smart traffic management solutions, relying on connected vehicles and real time information through 5G hybrid terrestrial – satellite networks for transport sector to accelerate towards decarbonisation. For the energy sector, SatCom can accelerate the grid modernisation towards smart(er) grids to implement real-time monitoring and control of the grid and its nodes, often in remote locations which are the key functions for managing renewable energy resources to achieve decarbonisation. In the building sector for decarbonisation, SatCom will allow the transmission of data from remote construction sites and smart buildings to ease processes such as task management, health monitoring, and progress tracking. Significant opportunities may be accelerated by future SatCom VLEO constellations. Satellite connectivity can enable the retrieval of data such as humidity, soil moisture, temperature allowing application of fertiliser at precise times and/or locations through Variable Rate control systems from Internet of Things (IoT) devices deployed in the field to help formulate a digital twin of the site to improve its environmental performance. 

Satellite Earth Observation (SatEO)
Advanced models of Earth and human system processes integrating huge amounts of SatEO data together with non-space data can provide a comprehensive and accurate actionable information to decision makers for decarbonisation. This enables enhanced insight based on next generation “what-if” analyses on both a global and local scale. SatEO can also be used to monitor changes for food production and improving agricultural practices to reduce environmental footprint. 

Satellite Navigation (SatNav)
Accurate and reliable satellite-based Position, Navigation and Time (PNT) information is critical to ensure connected, cooperative and automated mobility and transport corresponding to reduction in carbon footprint within the transport domains. PNT-enabled autonomous mobile platforms will provide crucial information for stakeholders. SatNav can also be used to locate where the emissions measurements are taken and to pinpoint the position of the source where most of the emissions are generated. Positioning information will be able to provide geo-tagging services for data collection. SatNav can also be used to support shifts towards carbon efficient transport including unmanned (sea, rail, etc.).

Space data together with new cloud-based High-Performance Computing (HPC) and related technologies will enable the creation of a boosted next-generation Digital Twin Earth. Cutting-Edge digital technologies such as Edge computing, Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality, quantum computing will be essential to generate actionable information for decarbonisation which can be initiated, visualised, implemented and monitored.


We are looking for teams that have technical and business expertise along with: 

  • An existing relationship with champions (companies/organisations/entities) in two or more of the GHG emitting sectors identified in key focus area, so that needs can be collected from experts in each sector and can be developed into requirements. 
  • Knowledge of space or satellite technologies, so that upstream and/or downstream technical elements of SatCom/SatEO/SatNav can be shaped during the study. 
  • An understanding of potential decarbonisation solutions, so that relevant services – leveraging on space and cutting-edge technologies – can be formulated.   


We offer funding and support to companies, both for business case assessment and for the development of new, space-based services. Our offer includes:

  • Technical & commercial guidance
  • Access to our network and partners
  • Use of the ESA brand for your service
  • Zero-equity funding

The activities will be 100% funded up to €200K per activity. Teams from companies or organisations registered in the following Member States are eligible to apply for this opportunity: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.


  1. Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (this provides for the minimum ‘light registration’): Home - esa-star Registration System
  2. Visit esa-star publications and search for this opportunity to download the official tender documentation. Official documents will include proposal templates, a draft contract, and additional information about this opportunity.
  3. Use the official documents to write your proposal 
  4. Obtain a Letter of Support from your National Delegation. Contact details of the National Delegations can be found here.
  5. Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by the deadline. 


Webinars are scheduled for the following dates:

  • 10:00 BST/11:00 CEST, 4th May 2022