The Use of Solar Energy Obtained in Space Could be Closer Than we Think

In the 40s, the writer and scientist Isaac Asimov proposed in his science fiction works the idea of obtaining solar energy in space and sending it to Earth, thus taking advantage of this source of energy without limitations.

Today, systems for obtaining solar energy in space have ceased to be something possible only in science fiction.

In fact, several countries have been considering the development of projects of this type as a priority for years.

A few months ago, scientists from the US Naval Research Lab met in the David Taylor Hydrodynamic Test Channel, which belongs to the US Navy.

There they carried out a demonstration of a system that would allow to easily transmit solar energy obtained outside the Earth to any point of the planet.

The device consisted of a system of infrared lasers that pointed towards photovoltaic cells installed at the other end of the channel, at a considerable distance.

These photovoltaic cells in turn were connected to a coffee maker.

When the infrared lasers were activated, 400W were transmitted to the solar panels, enough energy to power several small appliances.

Consequently, the coffee machine connected to the photovoltaic cells came into operation.

What this experiment demonstrates is that it is possible to transmit electricity over great distances without wires, only by wireless signals.

This would allow developing devices whose function is to collect solar energy outside the Earth, convert it into microwaves or lasers, and send it to any place that needs to be supplied with electricity.

The applications of this project are very striking. It would allow to supply power to remote places of difficult access, areas without fire supply and natural disasters…

And of course, it could provide us with electricity in our day to day.  

In addition, one of the points that make the project so attractive is that the sending of electricity does not produce any mass displacement or any visual effect. 

It is as harmless as the transmission of data between satellites and antennas, so we would not have to worry about maintaining suitable conditions during the sending of energy.

Until now, many projects of this type had lacked financial support due to the cost reduction of the installation of photovoltaic panels. 

But the advantages that this system offers compared to the terrestrial installations (it would obtain energy in a constant way without limitations such as the weather or the hours without sunlight) and the possibility that the project could be developed at reduced cost have managed to arouse the Government’s interest and the US Army.

This renewed interest could be very beneficial for science.

In October, the US Air Force Research Laboratory announced that they will allocate $100 million to build a satellite dedicated to obtaining solar energy.

The United States has thus become another of the countries that seek to make the most of solar energy by looking at space.



Source: Computerhoy