A practically infinite source of renewable energy couldn’t come fast enough given the European energy crisis and the threat of the worst effects of global warming if the world doesn’t quickly transition away from fossil fuels.
The use of solar energy gathered from space offers an almost astounding potential solution. According to Euronews Green, the European Space Agency (ESA) is testing a concept to gather solar energy and beam it down to Earth. The goal is to have a solar space farm that can produce as much energy as a nuclear power plant.
According to a statement from the ESA, [such a project] would guarantee that Europe becomes a significant participant and possibly the global leader in the race toward scalable renewable energy solutions for combating climate change.
Solar energy harvesting from space might be put into practice as early as 2035, according to Martin Soltau, co-chairman of the Space Energy Initiative (SEI), according to BBC News. Large satellites will be used in SEI’s Cassiopeia project to gather solar energy while orbiting far above the Earth. Soltau claimed that the amount of electricity produced may be nearly infinite.
According to Soltau, “theoretically, it might supply all of the world’s energy in 2050,” according to BBC News. More than 100 times as much energy is received annually in a small area around geostationary Earth orbit than is anticipated to be used by the entire human race by the year 2050.
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The Uk Government Is Committing $3.44 Million to Projects Involving space-based solar power (SBSP).
Robots would build and maintain SEI satellite modules in orbit after being constructed on Earth.
The solar energy would be captured by the satellites, transformed into radio waves, and transmitted back to Earth, where a rectifying antenna would turn them into electricity.
Each satellite would be able to produce about two gigawatts of energy, which is about equivalent to the output of a nuclear power plant. Due to the absence of an air barrier, a solar panel in space can gather more energy than one on Earth.
The Space Solar Power Incremental Demonstrations and Research project is a solar-powered endeavor carried out in the United States by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL).
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According to Soltau, the beam is low-intensity and is a quarter of the intensity of the midday Sun. It is a microwave, just like the wi-fi that we constantly use.
According to Dr. Jovana Radulovic, a thermodynamics lecturer at the University of Portsmouth who specializes in renewable energy systems, the cost, and carbon dioxide produced by launching several solar panels into space on SBSP could be a problem.
However, an environmental analysis of Cassiopeia by the University of Strathclyde revealed that its carbon footprint, including launch, maybe as little as 50% of that of land-based solar.
According to Soltau, new developments have made the project’s economics more plausible, but SEI is hoping for some private investment because the UK government is only contributing little money.
Dr. Radulovic was quoted by BBC News as saying, “I think with sufficient investment and dedicated work into this area, there’s no reason why we couldn’t have the system up and running as smaller pilot projects in the foreseeable future.” However, something that is done on a vast scale—we’re talking kilometers of solar panels here—would take a lot longer.