Skip to comments.Harvest the Sun — From Space
Posted on 07/24/2008 4:27:55 AM PDT by shove_it
AS we face $4.50 a gallon gas, we also know that alternative energy sources coal, oil shale, ethanol, wind and ground-based solar are either of limited potential, very expensive, require huge energy storage systems or harm the environment. There is, however, one potential future energy source that is environmentally friendly, has essentially unlimited potential and can be cost competitive with any renewable source: space solar power.
Science fiction? Actually, no the technology already exists. A space solar power system would involve building large solar energy collectors in orbit around the Earth. These panels would collect far more energy than land-based units, which are hampered by weather, low angles of the sun in northern climes and, of course, the darkness of night.
Once collected, the solar energy would be safely beamed to Earth via wireless radio transmission, where it would be received by antennas near cities and other places where large amounts of power are used. The received energy would then be converted to electric power for distribution over the existing grid. Government scientists have projected that the cost of electric power generation from such a system could be as low as 8 to 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is within the range of what consumers pay now...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Got a feeling that “environmentalist” will find any number of reasons to object.
THIS + fusion = WIN
I am not sure that I think it is a viable idea. Burning coal, oil and natural gas is just so much simpler than all these other ideas.
Ad Astra Y'all!
Heh. To be worth building, such an expensive net of solar satellites would have to provide gigawatts of energy, which would require orbiting gigawatt radio transmitters, and they want to "safely" beam gigawatts of energy down to Earth and somehow collect all that and convert it to 60Hz. Nikola Tesla will be impressed if they can pull that off.
We already have people claiming they are being harmed by RFID and who shield themselves from power lines. Imagine living under one of these satellites. I smell enviro-lawsuit. Plus, hey, you're blocking my sun!
Google keyword “ helium-3 “ to see the worlds next power source.
He-3, abundant on the moon, an estimated one ton would power the entire U.S. for a year. The fusion technology only needs to be developed, and it is actively be studied. That is fusion, NOT fission.
Amazing that President Bush, AN OIL MAN, would authorize a permanent presence on the moon in the next few years (unless he knows something the rest of us do not ).
What happens to the plane (and the people in it) that flies through that beam?
Buck Rogers thinks do not want.
There is no point in mining it when we do not know how to build power plants to use it yet.
Please, PLEASE don't unplug the big orange cords, It's not funny anymore, really it's not.
I'm hoping they'd pick up a country music station or a conservative commentator ~ somethin' like that.
With this new found power maybe we could create a laser beam from space that incinerates the brand new New York Times building.
This twit does not have a clue about the energy density necessary to “beam” the required energy back to earth. Belive me, it’s a whopping amount.
What happens if the transmitting satillite accidently drifts off course?
What happens if it’s not accidental??
We have been hearing this proposal since the 1970's.
The only reason it still shows up is that pot is stronger now.
Peple are being killed by Power Line Waves and frying their brains with cellpones, supposedly, but we are going to beam Gigawatss to cities.
Pass the bong.
All of these pie in the sky in the sweet bye & bye are great excuses for not drilling for Pelosi etal but my SUV needs Gasoline this morning. I can only fantasize the antenna that can capture giga watts of power.
....solar power has been around for a generation now...right here on earth....if it was so good and so cheap the free market would have cashed in by now....every new house in Phoenix would have a roof top unit built right in.
I don't know that much about the subject, but I know that my own house uses 2000-3000 Watts at times, maybe more.
If there's a beam carrying that much power from there to here, then I dang sure don't want to walk through the beam.
So if it's going to carry power to YOUR house as well as mine, then we're gonna need a bigger beam.
Even if they paint it orange and tell pilots to avoid it, it won't be long before there are fried eagles falling and we all know how THAT will turn out.
Change that to read:
And then a miraculous jump in technology happens...
Collect and beam to Earth via radio. ("wireless radio" is redundant) So, we can now modulate radio waves with sun energy? How does that work?
(A lot of) Government scientists = "What do you want to me to prove today?
This article needs to be filed under “Aw jeez, not this sh!t again”.
You can count on it.
Solar Power Satellites can find niche applications in space, maybe beaming power to a future moon base, but it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever be competitive with a simple coal or nuclear plant.
Even if we did build these, we still need a viable method to power cars.
Please Freep Mail me if you'd like on/off
The US is now a firmly entrenched service-based economy. We don't need to do the skull work that something of this magnitude would require. Let the Japanese carry the water. If it works, great! I'm sure their worker-drones will happily be exploited by this new industry the same way their auto workers, shipyard workers, and consumer electronics workers have been.
Worse case, they succeed and build a transmission line across the Bering Sea so that we end up sending our energy dollars to Asia instead of the Arabs. Who really cares. Either way, our publically schooled Luddites without opposable thumbs will still be able to hunt & peck the controls on their MP3 players and Blackberries.
It's all good.
I think Bussard's IEC fusion approach a far more likely candidate.
Don't look now, but that is about to happen. Nanosolar's "line printed" CIGS cells (14-15% efficient) will drop the price to $1/watt or less. They're already selling cells to "utility size" installations, and their next production plant is aimed precisely to the "roof-top solar" house market.
and the greenies thought windmills were bad for birds. wait til they start squawking about the starlings getting fried...
And another nation could “shoot” our energy supply right out of existence. Better have a back up plan.
Did you say “sharks with friggin’ Lazer beams on there heads” ?
beam me up
..uh, do biscuits come with those fried starlings?
” their next production plant is aimed precisely to the “roof-top solar” house market”
....to me, that makes a lot more sense than beaming solar back to earth from outer space...
Clearly, all we need is Multivac to figure out the logistics for us.
Oh, I agree. Jerry Pournelle has been touting "solar power satellites" since forever. And the approach made some sense back in the day when the only solar cells were made from crystalline semi-conductor grade silicon, so you absolutely "had" to maximize the "per cell productivity". And the best way to do THAT was to get the cell where maximum sunlight hit it 24/7---a condition found only in space.
But Nanosolar's invention is a true "paradigm-shifting", game-changine piece of technology. A single production line (not a single production PLANT, but one line in such a plant), operated at their tested maximum speed of 100 ft/sec can turn out 1GW (the equivalent of a 1000 MW nuke plant) per year. According to the Nanosolar head honcho, cell quality actually improves at the higher production rates. Note that the 100ft/min feed rate is not the maximum the equipment is capable of---newspaper offset printing is run at 2000 ft/min--but they have not yet tested at these higher rates
30 years ago, during the Arab oil embargo, this was widely discussed. Cheap oil shot it down, and Enviros cheered. Actually space industry would be the first application and no power would need to be beamed to earth.
FFTTTTT.....nothing left but some ash.
I'm not too hot on this energy beam stuff. If the transmitting station were hit by space junk, meteor, etc, the beam could end up burning a pattern in the surface of the earth.
This could also be done intentionally.
Now if we were to use a big earth to geosynchronous orbit extension cord, then maybe it would be safer?!?!?
Problems solved and no gigawatt masers needed.
Besides, did these idiots even consider what an ultra high powered maser would do to the atmosphere and weather patterns? Permanent high pressure zone anyone?
He want's to take posession of The Soul Collector!! :-P
Like post 2 says. The wing-nuts will object, if for no other reason than “This could be used as a weapon!” Sounds cool though.
I propose a more efficient solution: EDBOEC, energy delivery via big, orange extension cords.
Just like the space elevator.
Got a feeling that environmentalist will find any number of reasons to object.
Absolutely. Bear in mind that this increases the amount of energy delivered to the Earth, which means that this will cause global warming. Unless we make giant space heatsinks to balance them.
Maybe we can launch an equal amount of liberials into space. With all the hot air they generate, we could reach a balance.
And people are worried about cell phone radiation?
This kind of scheme would really zap people near the earth receivers
The beam would end up kind of "wide" by the time it reached earth