Is the dream of space-based solar power becoming a reality?

The European Space Agency plans to explore the key technologies needed to generate energy from space, including space-based solar energy, in the innovative Solaris program.

BingMag.com Is the dream of space-based solar power becoming a reality?

The European Space Agency plans to explore the key technologies needed to generate energy from space, including space-based solar energy, in the innovative Solaris program.

This plan, which is still in the stage of idea and technology demonstration, can be considered a development in the field of clean energy production and help this agency in the path of carbon neutrality. A prototype of one of these technologies was recently demonstrated in Germany to investors and government decision makers.

Space-based solar energy

European Space Agency (ESA) on November 9, 2022 (18 Aban 1401) published a concept plan in which the mechanism of space-based solar energy is described. Also, the experimental version of clean energy production from this method and the concept of wireless power transmission was recently displayed at the Airbus X-Works innovation factory in Munich, Germany. ) is considered the European Space Agency, which is supposed to be presented and decided on at the meeting of the European Space Council on November 22-23 (December 1-2). So that "the member countries of the agency have an informed choice about the implementation of space-based solar energy as a new source of clean and permanent energy that is considered complementary to current renewable energy sources. This project can help Europe achieve the goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It was transmitted from microwave beams between two points at a distance of 36 meters, which represented "space" and "earth". The power received was used to light a model city, produce green hydrogen by splitting water, and even produce the first wirelessly cooled 0% alcohol beer.

For a real version of a space-based solar energy system. Solar-powered satellites in geostationary orbit collect sunlight continuously 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then convert it into low-intensity microwaves to beam safely to receiving stations on Earth.

Required infrastructures

According to ESA, achieving this vision requires extensive technical advances in various fields, including Advances in space construction and robotic assembly, providing low-cost and high-efficiency photovoltaic energy, high-power electronic structures, and radio frequency beam shaping.

In addition, in terms of safety, he pointed to the confirmation of the benign effects of low-power microwaves on human health. And animals are also needed. The compatibility of microwave radiation with airplanes and satellites should also be studied. According to ESA, any advances in these areas will benefit many other human spaceflight efforts as well as other terrestrial applications.

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An old idea with a new design

It should be said that the idea of using space-based solar energy is not so new and even in It has been proposed by "Gerard K. O'Neill" in the past decades. "Dwayne Day" wrote about his design on February 28, 2022 (9 March 1400): "Gerard K. O'Neill, although no longer familiar to the general public, was once the best-known advocate of a human future in space.

He added: "In the 1970s, O'Neill's vision of giant cities in space received brief attention." took He spoke about the project on television and in lectures, and even founded a pioneer space movement by forming the L-5 Society. O'Neill's vision was tied to the concept of space-based solar energy, an idea that was being evaluated even at the time by NASA and major aerospace companies. It is to space that, if approved by the Council of the European Space Agency, could promise a revolutionary plan in Earth's orbit.

Cover photo: Graphic design of space-based solar energy equipment
Credit: ESA

Sources: EarthSky

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