Friday Dec 02, 2022

Europe Solaris Project Will Explore Space-Based Solar Power (With Video) – CleanTechnica

npressfetimg-2137.png

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The brutal war of aggression in Ukraine has caused Europe to search for alternatives to cheap unnatural gas from Russia. One option might be space-based solar power — a system of solar panels in geosynchronous orbit that would transit abundant electricity down to the Earth below.

Those panels would be super efficient because there would be no water vapor, clouds, or bird droppings to block some of the sun’s energy. Also, there would be no NIMBY fights about where to put them. Another significant benefit is such systems can supply electricity from space almost 24 hours a day, eliminating the intermittency issue and the need for energy storage.

There is only one problem with space-based solar power. The technology to make it a reality does not exist and there is no guarantee the idea is even possible outside the realm of science fiction. And yet, science fiction is what inspired humans to land on the moon and create nuclear power, so perhaps there will be a place for SBSP in the future.

According to Space.com, the European Space Agency will ask its member states to fund the Solaris program at a meeting later this year. Solaris would explore the potential of space-based solar power and assess technical feasibility, benefits, implementation options, commercial opportunities, and risks associated with the technology.

The ESA describes the Solaris program as a response to the current climate change crisis on Earth because it is a potential source of clean, affordable, continuous, abundant, and secure energy. The agency expects a decision on whether to move forward with Solaris by 2025. “We have the main building blocks already, but let me be clear: for the project to succeed, much technology development and funding is still needed,” says Josef Ashbacher, head of the ESA.

Everybody Wants In On Space-Based Solar Power

The concept of space-based solar power first emerged in the 1960s, but has recently been taken up by a number of countries. The UK expressed its interest in an SBSP system earlier this year, while China plans to begin testing systems that are already in orbit by the end of this decade as a prelude to gigawatt-level systems that could be deployed by mid-century. NASA is also interested in studying SBSP, while a billionaire-backed project at Caltech in Pasadena is already working on hardware for harvesting solar energy collected in space. The US Navy is involved in research as well.

While promising a source of clean, continuous energy, space-based solar power faces many technological, economic, policy, and hardware challenges. Then there is the challenge of distributing all that electricity efficiently once it arrives at a ground station. This is really the stuff of science fiction today, but so were space travel and nuclear power not so long ago.

Two Reports Say SBSP Is Feasible

The ESA commissioned feasibility studies from the Frazer-Nash consulting group in the UK and Roland Berger in Germany. In a press release, Frazer Nash space business manager Martin Soltau said, “Innovation in new baseload energy technologies will be essential to deliver …….

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2022/08/22/europe-solaris-project-will-explore-space-based-solar-power-with-video/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top