Orbiting solar panels could produce continuous power by avoiding any darkness
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Spotted: A complete system of space solar power technologies passed testing by researchers from China’s Xidian University. The scientists proved the concept of converting solar power captured in space to electricity and then wirelessly transmitting the power as microwaves. Once received by a station, the microwaves are re-converted back to electricity and added to the local power grid.
The recent round of testing is three years ahead of schedule, with researchers planning to continuously extend the distance that microwave transmissions travel. The full-system test successfully transmitted renewable energy across 55 metres and proved the effectiveness of many of the components of the mechanical design.
The state recently publicised the dates for other milestones in the project, including a 2028 low Earth orbit wireless power transmission satellite capable of 10 kilowatts of power. By 2030, researchers hope to begin testing microwave transmission of up to 100 kilowatts over 36,000 kilometres, with the system expanding to produce 10 megawatts by 2035. The 2050 goal is to have a commercial plant in operation in space that generates two gigawatts of energy.
Space is becoming an increasingly commercial space with several innovators exploring the opportunities it provides. Innovations spotted by Springwise include robot factories designed to produce materials in microgravity, and a space debris tracking system.
Written by: Keely Khoury