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ESA would like to generate solar energy in space in the future

The clock for fossil fuels is ticking. Even in places where the transition to sustainable energy sources is slow, sooner or later the last coal or the last natural gas will be burned. Right now it looks like the future will bring a mix of nuclear and renewable energy sources. The latter could perhaps one day be obtained in space.

Because by the time the sun’s rays have arrived here, a large part of the energy contained has already been converted. The solution could be gigantic solar sails in space that convert the energy before it enters the atmosphere and send it to base stations on the earth’s surface. And that 24 hours a day, 365 days a week.

Even more energy can be obtained from solar panels above the atmosphere

What sounds a bit futuristic or from the game “Deliver us the Moon” is a vision of the European Space Agency ESA. Therefore, such projects are now actively sought, which are then to be supported with funds from the authority. Because in addition to the transport to earth, the construction of such a solar sail is a challenge. A single one could already cover an area of ​​10 square kilometers.

The materials should therefore be fairly light, but still stable. Researchers at the University of Liverpool, for example, have already developed a new technique for printing awnings with thin, very light solar cells. It is possible that several thousand small satellites could then be shot into space, which then gradually combine to form a large power plant.

Energy could also be sent to the ISS (Image: Norbert Kowalczyk)

But how does the energy from space get into the socket? One plan is for the electricity from the solar cells to be converted into energy waves, which are then sent to an antenna on earth using electromagnetic fields. The antenna would then convert the received waves back into electricity.

Nevertheless, there are still big questions unanswered. For example, there is talk of extracting the materials for the solar systems in space and operating them from there. In addition, it is still completely unclear how effective such a system would be. If the efficiency is only so low that the same amount of energy arrives as with a solar system, then you can save the system. In addition, health issues remain with the transfer of energy. Nonetheless, it is an interesting approach and it will hopefully be further developed so that we will soon be drawing energy from space.

via The Next Web

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