One of the humanity’s problems, whether we like to acknowledge it or not, is that we’re still heavily dependent on fossil fuel. Not only that, but Earth’s climate also has to suffer because of it. However, there are many projects aimed at replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, and one of the most daring ones involves beaming down solar energy from space. Researchers have conceived a way to get that energy from space-based solar panels, which means the supply would be virtually unlimited.
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As Business Insider reports, some researchers see the “stellar energy” technology deployed in our lifetime, as the only thing that needs “fixing” is the “astronomical cost.”
“If you put the solar panel in space, it’s going to be illuminated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 99% of the year,” U.S. Naval Research Laboratory spacecraft engineer Paul Jaffe said.
At that height, the solar panels would receive 40 times the annual amount of reliable 24/7 energy the same cell would generate on Earth. The technology would be able to power entire cities.
However, humankind has yet to solve the cost problem. NASA and the Department of Energy concluded that such a program is viable but extremely costly, likely in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
It currently costs about $4,600 to launch a kilogram of material into the orbit, and Discover Magazine says that Stellar power can’t compete with other kinds of renewable energy sources unless that cost drops significantly, to around $400 per kilogram.
Assuming the price problem is fixed, with Elon Musk’s reusable Space X rockets potentially helping out, there’s one more issue that needs to be ironed out: The energy collected in space needs to be fed back to Earth.
Luckily, researchers did that. They discovered they could use electromagnetic waves to beam the energy back to Earth, as seen in the image above.
Interestingly, the space component required for this to work would be about the length of nine football fields, or more than half a mile long, or nine times bigger than the International Space Station.
On Earth, an antenna called rectenna would need to have a diameter of six miles so that it could receive the energy and reconvert it back into electricity.
More details about this exciting space-based green energy project are available at the source link.