December 5, 2023

Collecting Solar Power Up in Orbit and Beaming It Down to the Ground for Use

Occurrence solar radiation
In orbit, the strength of sunshine is much greater than the strength at Earths surface.
Sunshine capture and energy policy
Sunshine is transformed into a present, then prepared for radio frequency beaming to Earth, the Moon or another planetary surface.
Power beaming
Energy is sent out down to Earth using phased ranges, laser emitters or other wireless technologies. The energy beam should be accurate, trustworthy and must keep as much of its power as possible as it travels through Earths environment.
Beam capture and energy conversion
The energy beam is recorded with photovoltaic cells or with an antenna that transforms electro-magnetic energy into electricity. Satellites can beam energy down to a single ground site, or to numerous locations around a planetary things.
Power transmission
Systems that gather the space-based solar power in the world should be safely and sustainably incorporated into existing power grids. Power distribution is likewise crucial in colonization, science and expedition objectives.
Energy utilization
As having the possible to help Europes goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, space-based solar power technologies might provide the flexibility and reliability required for science and exploration missions where other power sources are limited, for example rover objectives throughout the lunar night.
Supported through the Discovery aspect of ESAs Basic Activities, this task was initiated through ESAs Open Space Innovation Platform, looking for appealing originalities for space.

ESA is dealing with the idea of collecting solar power up in orbit, where sunshine is up to 11 times more extreme than across European territory, then beaming it down to the ground for usage. Credit: Frazer-Nash Consultancy
Solar power generation keeps on ending up being cheaper and more efficient, but some standard restrictions will constantly apply: photovoltaic panels can just generate power throughout the daytime, and much of the sunshine is absorbed by the atmosphere as it shines downward. ESA is working on the concept of collecting solar power up in orbit, where sunlight is up to 11 times more intense than throughout European territory, then beaming it down to the ground for usage.
As part of that effort, a brand-new task checks out developing solar-power satellites, which would become the largest structures ever constructed in space. Frazer-Nash Consultancy will study the modular building and construction of solar-power satellites, to efficiently dissembling them as they concern their end-of-life for reuse or recycling.
Space-based solar energy infographic. Credit: ESA
Solar power generation has actually grown far more affordable and more efficient over the last few years, however no matter how much innovation advances, fundamental restrictions will constantly stay: photovoltaic panels can only create power throughout the daytime, and much of the sunlight is absorbed by the environment throughout its journey to the ground. What if rather we could gather solar energy up in space and beam it down to the surface? ESA is looking for concepts for innovations and concepts for solar power satellites that will do exactly this.