Technological developments have made a radical difference to the lifestyle, and the methodologies adopted for simplifying the human tasks. Generating solar energy through solar space station has been a topic of research since 1970s. Solar power produced this way can solve a good amount of the energy crisis and greenhouse emission problems. It can give large amounts of energy to every individual on earth with the minimum environmental impact. This is a great step towards finding new sources of eco-friendly and renewable energy. Of course, this concept is in premature stages and needs to be implemented practically, to make a big difference to the currently rising energy demands.
What is It All About?
Space-based solar power is nothing but solar energy that is produced through a solar space station. In other words, it it’s all about accumulating solar energy in interstellar space for using it on earth. Such a system collects energy from the sunlight in space and transfers it to earth through wireless means.
Producing solar energy through solar space station is quite different from the present methods of collection of solar energy; the method of collecting energy would depend upon the circumnavigating satellite rather than on surface of the earth.
Design of the System
Such a solar power system necessarily comprises of three main components:
- a source for collection of power in space; for instance through a heat engine or solar cells
- a source to transmit power to earth, for instance through laser or microwave
- a source to receive power on earth, for instance through a rectenna (microwave antenna)
The portion that is based in space will not have to sustain against gravity except for comparatively frail tidal pressures. It does not need protection from weather or terrestrial wind, but will need to cope up with space risks like solar flares or micro meteors.
As per researches conducted in this field, there are two fundamental methodologies – solar dynamic (SD) and photo-voltaic (PV). SD makes use of mirrors to focus bright light on surface of boiler and this method can bring down the mass/watt. PV makes use of semiconductor cells to convert photons into electrical power directly.
Benefits of Solar Space System
Such a space-based system is projected to offer several benefits such as the ones listed below:
- The collection rate is high in such a system. Solar energy transmission is not affected by sifting impact of the atmospheric gases in space. As a result, solar energy accumulation in orbit is almost 144 percent of the highest level achievable on the surface of the earth.
- The collection period is also longer; the encircling satellites can get uncovered to a constantly greater level of solar rays, normally for 24 hours/day, while the exterior panels are capable of gathering only maximum of 12 hours/day.
- The power transmission can be redirected. On demand, a collecting satellite can potentially direct power to various surface locations depending on the peak load and geographical base-load power requirements.
- Concerns related to weather conditions are eliminated due to the sheer fact that amassing satellite would stay well out of the atmospheric gases, wind, cloud cover, and other such weather events.
- Wildlife and plant interference are eliminated.
Generating solar energy through solar space station can almost solve the present-day energy problems when applied as a long term solution. But, there are several hurdles to be overcome in the practical implementation of this process. So, we’ll have to wait and watch how this dream comes into reality over the coming years.