Space-based solar power stations research launched by UK Space Agency and government

Posted: November 16, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation
Tags: ,

Credit: IEEE Spectrum


Does this by any chance suggest that wind and solar power may not quite be the wondrous energy future our leaders keep trying to hoodwink the public with? No word on costs so far.
– – –
It is thought that energy could be beamed anywhere on the planet, save for the poles, according to the UK Space Agency.

From an idea first mooted in 1941, the UK has launched research into whether solar power in space could be beamed back to Earth as a sustainable energy source, reports Sky News.

The concept was first thought up by science-fiction writer Isaac Asimov; now the UK Space Agency and UK government are aiming to make the idea a reality.

Space-based solar power (SBSP) stations would capture the solar energy emitted by the sun that never makes it to Earth, and beam it back down using lasers to meet energy demands.

It is thought that energy could be beamed anywhere on the planet, save for the poles, according to the UK Space Agency.

The research will be led by consulting firm Frazer-Nash, and will look at the viability of the stations, the engineering involved, and whether it could deliver cheaper energy for consumers.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Gamecock says:

    Is Ernst Stavro Blofeld behind this?

    So, to keep the earth from “overheating,” we are going to introduce more energy into the system from outside of it.

  2. Damian says:

    How would you “beam” the energy back to Earth? The potential energy difference between space and the Earth is enormous, any conductive pathway bridging this divide would cause the mother of all lightning strikes.

  3. cognog2 says:

    OH DEAR, A load more grant dosh wizzing out of my pocket.

  4. saighdear says:

    Huh, or hum, too many ppl with idle time on their hands writing / reading rubbish books giving out daft ideas. Ideas have to start from somewhere, granted, but …. nd when that bean passes through a cloud or is otherwise distorted …..no better than distorted wind n Sun

  5. Dave Ward says:

    And how would the thousands of tons of satellites and associated equipment be put into orbit? Why, by FOSSIL FUELS of course…

  6. ivan says:

    I hope they don’t forget the inverse square law when doing their calculations. I also hope they are very careful about beam control otherwise they will end up with ‘toasted’ populations.

  7. Hasbeen says:

    Perhaps that is the real idea. A terrible accident that kills billions.

  8. BoyfromTottenham says:

    I too used to read science fiction comics when I was a kid, but I grew out of them pretty fast.

  9. gbaikie says:

    “Dave Ward says:
    November 16, 2020 at 9:50 pm
    And how would the thousands of tons of satellites and associated equipment be put into orbit? ”

    There already a thousand tons of satellites in Earth orbit. Probably more like millions of tons.

    You could get millions of tons of satellites in Earth orbit from the Moon.
    You launch stuff from the Moon without using rocket fuel- but it could require thousands of tons infrastructure on the Moon to do this. And probably need lunar electrical power to be as cheap
    as 10 times the electrical power on Earth- or about $1 per Kw hour.
    What you need is cheap lunar water.
    Cheap lunar water starts at about $500 per kg and over time, it could lower to about $10 per kg.
    If Lunar water about $10 per kg and electrical power is about $5 per kw hour, it should be cheaper to launch from the Lunar surface to any earth orbit, as compared to cost of launching from Earth surface. This also means one bring lunar rocket fuel to LEO, which roughly means the cost to get to the Moon from Earth, is less than current cost to get to LEO {and maybe about 1/5th the cost].
    Or in terms of passenger seat, LEO is currently about 20 million {or more} to LEO. When lunar water is $10 per kg, and lunar electrical is $5 per kW hour, a seat from Earth surface to Lunar surface could be about $5 million dollars or less. And from lunar surface to Earth surface, seat price could be less $50,000. It’s fairly cheap even now {and be even cheaper in future}, getting from orbit to Earth surface compared to leaving Earth to orbit.

  10. oldbrew says:

    The graphic for this post came from a 2019 story:

    Facebook’s Plans for Space Lasers Revealed

    The technology giant appears to be quietly building laser satellites for global communications
    . . .
    However, even tightly focused laser signals would spread out and become weaker on the long 36,000-kilometer journey from a geosynchronous orbit.

    “The light from an optical beam… would actually spread to encompass a fraction of a city,” said Aniceto. “[And] if the satellite and the laser communication were off pointing this beam by even just one degree, it would completely miss the planet.”

    https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/aerospace/satellites/facebooks-secret-space-lasers
    – – –
    Tricky 🤔

  11. saighdear says:

    gbaikieindeed cheap lunar water? its free on everywhere – plenty of it around in the Lunacy

  12. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Frying tonight!

  13. Doonhamer says:

    And who would control this Death Ray?
    Buy mirrors.

  14. Doonhamer says:

    Getting stuff up there?
    Don’t forget Arthur C Clarke’s Space Elevator.

  15. Jim says:

    It’s actually a neat idea. Let’s see what could go wrong. Actually, for the moon it is a neat idea.. set up receivers all around, good only two weeks at a time, then out for two weeks, as the sun shows up so you would need receivers tuned to sunlight, yeah, what could go wrong. Lose the moon, beam it to earth, cook the earth. Not warm, cook.

  16. oldbrew says:

    Another day, another distant green dream…

    Solar power stations in space could be the answer to our energy needs
    November 19, 2020

    A single solar power station may have to be as much as 10 kilometres squared in area – equivalent to 1,400 football pitches.

    https://theconversation.com/solar-power-stations-in-space-could-be-the-answer-to-our-energy-needs-150007

    Ridiculous. But at least they’re admitting renewables alone will never cut the mustard – and that’s just for electricity supply. All the other uses of coal, oil and gas – even nuclear – are in the firing line too.

    From their own ESA link, we find this…

    Why are solar power satellites not yet a reality?

    Solar power satellites are by design relatively large structures and require advances in a number of key technical areas that push the boundaries of what is currently feasible in space. Some of these current technological bottlenecks include, but are not limited to:

    Very large structures (manufacturing, deployment)
    Construction (materials, modularity, in-orbit manufacturing, robotics…)
    Power generation and onboard energy conversion (high voltages, efficient solar to electric and electric to microwave/laser conversions)
    Thermal systems (efficient large radiators and distributed thermal subsystems)
    Wireless power transmission systems (laser/microwave generation, control, focusing, pointing…)
    Microwave/laser to electric conversion at receiving site(s)
    Operations (station keeping, autonomy, safety, resilience and redundancy, maintenance and servicing, re-fuelling including with in-space resources)
    Control (structures, formations, wireless power transmission beams)
    – – –
    Can ‘the climate’ wait for all that? 😆

  17. […] oldbrew on Space-based solar power statio… […]

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