A solar energy plant in space is being developed by China hoping to beam power back to Earth in order to light an entire city up.
If challenges of formidable technical could be overcome by scientists, the project would come to light as a monumental leap in combating addiction of Earth to dirty power sources that wastes our air & causes global warming.
A solar power station based in space could provide an alternative of earthbound and ineffective sources of renewable energy.
Scientists had thought space solar plants (SSPs) previously might be expensive prohibitively.
China might have financial firepower by 2020 after Beijing tends to invest $367 billion in renewable power generation such as solar, wind, nuclear & hydro.
According to a report in official newspaper in Science & Technology, commercially viable solar space station will be operated by corporation of China Aerospace Science & Technology Corporation by 2050.
Microwaves & lasers can be used to beam energy to Earth. However, a researcher at China Academy of Space Technology called Pang Zhihao warned that hazards posed to plants, humans & animals by the process that should be examined first.
“Over the past 60 years, we’ve made a lot of achievements, but there is still a large distance from the world space powers. We must speed up our pace”, Wu Weiren stated.
According to United States National Space Society (NSS), Space solar energy could supply all electrical needs of each person on Earth as SSE is considered the biggest potential energy source always available to humans.
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“Additive manufacturing is now widely available for the aeronautics industry. Therefore, this new manufacturing technology will be used for SSPs as well”, said by spokesman for Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) – Nobuyoshi Fujimoto
36,000 kilometers high is enough for solar power plant to be away of vagaries that affects generation of solar power back on Earth.
The 40-megawatt power plant, with 165,000 solar panels, is built on the surface of a lake in east China’s Anhui. The lake takes shape as rain water accumulates in a coal mine subsidence area. China plans to make big investment in renewable energy projects and drastically cut carbon emissions.
The components of solar power space including solar panels besides technology needed for for transmitting converted electricity could be blasted into space to be assembled.
After solar farm is established, it will be placed in a geostationary orbit locates over a receiving station on Earth for transmitting energy to Earth base in form of laser or as microwaves where it will be reconverted to electricity for the final distribution via the grid.
“(An) SSP would be assembled piece-by-piece over repeated launches and dockings. The construction of the structure by crew members would be prohibitively expensive and unsafe. A key phase of the program will be to develop robotic systems capable of assembling all of the components of the large orbital structure autonomously”, as JAXA explained.
A district called Xian locates 500 miles Chinese city of Chongqing will witness building the receiving station to develop solar power farms has been founded.
“The approach that the Chinese have announced looks very reasonable to me. Because the ultimate goal of this is to get very large power stations, doing that all in one go is not practical — there are a lot of things you learn along the way”, Schubert explains