Monday, September 29, 2014

Space-based power stations on the horizon

Space-based solar power could eventually prove to be a different option source of electricity for Japan, as the world struggles to find the best energy mix ease its dependence on thermal and elemental power.

The Japan Aerospace Untersuchung Agency (JAXA) has been conducting research studies in the hopes of erecting huge your own solar panels in space to generate electricity soon.

The basic idea is simple: Build a solar pv station in geostationary orbit to build up sunlight; convert the energy to empedrar electricity, and then direct it thru microwaves or laser beams to start using antennas on Earth.

The Space Solar Power Model (SSPS) would be able to collect the same amount related with solar energy almost 24 hours a day, since it and also be affected by the weather. It could generate one hundred to 10 times more power compared to solar pv operations on Earth, JAXA says.

Definitely one SSPS with a 2 . 5 kilometer by 2 . 3 km enquête would have the capacity to generate 1 gigawatt of electricity, the agency promises, which is about the same as a nuclear engine power.

For a country with few common resources, an SSPS sounds like it might a dream come true, and currently Okazaki , japan is leading the world in examine on space-based solar power.

Making the support into a reality, however , won't remain an easy job, as the agency remain to needs to overcome many hurdles.

"This is a grand project. I think i will be facing more unclear issues once we proceed, " Tatsuhito Fujita, an associate at work senior engineer at JAXA's Troposphere Research and Development Directorate in Tsukuba, Ibaraki Prefecture, told The Japan Scenarios in a recent interview.

JAXA is focused on developing the technologies to a huge structure in space, as well ways to transmit energy to Entire world by microwaves or laser beams.

The several agency is also studying a system toward fold solar panels into a rocket and get then unfold in space where the one large panel, Fujita said.

Technological advances to accurately send microwaves because lasers over long distances is usually crucial, because the SSPS would be established some 36, 000 km around Earth-based receiving antennae.

If the slope of the sending beam were away from by just one degree, it could create a difference of 600 km on a lawn, Fujita said.

"We must send out the energy accurately to a pinpointed vicinity. So we need a system that can master beams to the 0. 0000- factor degree, " Fujita said.

JAXA initially aimed to conduct space-based speech experiments in fiscal 2017, it's essential to commercial use sometime in the 2030s. But nevertheless , that schedule is looking increasingly impracticable, and Fujita said JAXA typically is planning to come up with a new time frame number of years few years.

Another huge issue typically is cost, Fujita said. JAXA primarily estimated ¥1 trillion for the totalidad expenditure to build the SSPS, even so he admitted that it is a very highflying goal.

The 2. 5 km next to 2 . 3 km panel in a solar array and microwave creator that JAXA is currently studying properly about 750 times the size of each International Space Station — the number one structural object currently orbiting Entire world — and would weigh roughly 26, 600 tons.

It would in addition , require a great many trips between Entire world and space to transport all the pieces necessary to build the SSPS, he or said.

"It now costs roughly ¥10 billion to launch a major H2A or H2B rocket, by way of example. If we are to launch it (to carry materials) for construction related with SSPS... it would be a gigantic number, " Fujita said, adding that power bills using power produced in this way ıs going to be way more expensive than current your actual.

If JAXA adopts laser beams toward transmit solar energy from space toward Earth, the size of the SSPS would be smaller, he said. But while microwaves can be transmitted under any local weather, laser beams cannot penetrate clouds, he or said.

"We are targeting offering (electricity with) a price that every anybody can use, " Fujita said.

But for do that, they need to find ways to lower the massive costs, such as developing more reasonable transportation systems to space, he or said.

The safety of microwaves — which are used in mobile phones — must also be examined. Although they are generally treated as safe, their impact on the environment as well people's health need to be fully undertook studies, he said.

Despite all the ıssues, if JAXA is successful, SSPS would be one of Japan's core energy sources in time. Moreover, the country in principle foreign trade the solar energy from space, send out it to any place with a start using antenna.

If it can develop a much more reasonable transportation system to space, each agency could also boost space-related small businesses such as space travel, Fujita considered.

If JAXA succeeds in commercializing the SSPS, it would have a "huge impact" on energy development, he or said.

"I've been doing this examine for nearly nine years. Back then, no really paid much attention to such project, " Fujita said.

However the project has been garnering more attraction since the 2011 triple meltdown with Fukushima No . 1 nuclear engine power, he said.

"It's great more people recognize the project at present. But there are still lots of issues, " Fujita said. "We hope to compose technologies that many people can use. "

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