China wants to build a huge orbital solar power station in space

China is set to test a potentially revolutionary technology that would allow it to collect large amounts of solar energy at any time of the day.

The method will use an orbital station as a solar power station. the system, I read in an article in the South China Morning Post, then sends a “beam” of solar energy to the Earth.

If all goes according to plan, the test in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing will lead to the construction of a massive building. 1 megawatt solar power plant by 2030.

Chongqing, the city that will host the exams

The Space Solar Power Plant by 2030: Just the Beginning

China, which is currently the world’s largest producer of solar panel cells, plans to increase production from this space solar power station after its launch. The goal is to increase its capacity to 1 gigawatt by 2049.

The test platform for the solar power plant (low cost: about 15 million euros) will be ready this year in Chongqing. It must be said “finally”, having been interrupted three years ago by doubts about the final costs of the project, the feasibility and safety of the project.

The ban on the situation was not lifted until last June, and according to the local government website, construction of the testing facility is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

solar power plant test

The test facility will be used to evaluate technologies that would allow a powerful beam of energy to effectively penetrate any cloud cover. The viaticum for solar thermal power plant will carefully select a ground station placed so as not to cause harm to nature, property or people.

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The idea of ​​a solar space station is taking shape: there are many similar projects on the planet. A few days ago I told you about the next beta launch of Caltech in the USA.

It was first proposed by scientists in the 1960s. The technology has the potential to bypass many of the limitations of traditional solar plants (or solar gardens, if you prefer)

why?

From an altitude of 36,000 kilometers (22,400 miles), the geostationary solar panel station will be able to avoid Earth’s shadow and exploit Direct sunlight 24 hours a day.

From space, a solar power plant can also collect more electricity since Earth’s atmosphere Reflects or absorbs nearly half of the sun’s energy Before reaching the ground-mounted solar panels.

By sending the collected energy to a plant in the form of high-frequency microwaves, the technology will make it possible to reach Earth with just one device. Minimal power loss (only 2% loss).

Progress in recent years

The idea arose from experiments by Nikola Tesla in the late 19th century and led to the emergence of companies, such as New Zealand-based Emrod, promising wireless power transmission, as well as companies looking to launch wireless charging methods for electric cars here on Earth.

Now, the researchers will aim to demonstrate that this wireless power transmission works over the required long distances.

Upcoming exams

For starters, the Chinese team will conduct experiments using airships and hot air balloons to return energy in the form of high-frequency microwaves to Earth. The tests were successfully conducted at an altitude of 300 meters (980 ft) using a hot air balloon.

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Gradually, the experimental solar power plant will be improved through experiments that radiate energy at altitudes of up to 20 kilometers.

The technology pilot area has an area of ​​approximately 2 hectares (2000 square metres) and will be surrounded by a clearing area five times its size. A statement issued by the county government said that for their own safety, residents will not be allowed to enter this area.

There is still a lot to do and understand

We can talk at length about the potential risks of technology like the one behind a space solar power plant.

Just think about what we don’t know yet, like the potential effects of such a beam of high-frequency energy on communications, air traffic, and the well-being of people on Earth.

However, if the researchers behind the project are successful, this space solar power station will draw power from the stratosphere.

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