Dual Use of Space Based Solar Power for Earth and Moon
Irradiance will provide ubiquitous clean energy on the earth and beyond by bringing to reality the space-based solar power generation and distribution. Our system envisions a future where devices and electric vehicles are tuned to orbiting power satellites to charge on-the-move.
By 2050, the world population will be nearly 10 billion, and global electricity generation is expected to reach 53,600 TWH. Solar energy will be the main source. But only 10% of the sun’s energy reaches the earth’s surface while atmosphere reflects the rest to space. Some locations on earth cannot harness solar energy because of geographical limitations and changing Meteorological conditions. Terrestrial solar energy is therefore not sufficient because of losses on atmosphere. The solution lies in deploying a space system to overcome the atmospheric barrier and increase efficiency. This system will provide clean and sustainable energy because space system is not subject to seasonal conditions of the earth. Then the possibility to provide ubiquitous energy regardless of location, because sit is always sunny in space.
Irradiance is working on a space-based solar power project that is meant to provide ubiquitous clean energy and meet the demand on the earth and beyond. Owing to the complexity of the project, the process is broken into about four technology packages. These are:
1. Solar panels. Use of perovskites for space applications. Sizing the solar panels for space flight, and investigation into in-space manufacturing
2. Power virtualization and packaging.
3. Power propagation by conversion to Microwave and reconversion to DC
4. Power storage. Deploying discrete systems in the Low Earth Orbit (to minimize divergence of the microwave beam that reduces efficiency) and in polar sun-synchronous orbit (to increase contact with the sun).
Each of these technology packages must be resolved in isolation, but with a long-term view of integration into a system of systems. Presently, the project is relevant to both the Earth and the Moon. The first package currently under development is the virtualization and propagation with an end-goal of providing long-range wireless power transfer.
Image courtesy of Meshack Ndiritu
Meshack Ndiritu, Lindau Alumnus 2016
Irradiance Inc., Kenya