Energy is the main project for the coming years, as the challenge is to replace fossil fuels, oil, gas and coal. To achieve this, the main solution is electricity.
But on one condition, it must be Produced by low carbon means : We pretty much know them all, you have nuclear fission, and what’s called renewable energy: hydroelectricity, biomass, wind turbines, solar energy.
If the wind is in their sails, it must be noted that they are intermittent energies : Take solar energy, it is at the mercy of the day-night cycle of course, but also at the mercy of the clouds. In the middle of the desert it’s not a big deal, but in our latitudes it’s something else. In fact, the ideal placement for photovoltaic panels would be to place them above the clouds, at a height where they are permanently illuminated by the sun.
Getting energy from space is now a reality
For 20 years, the Japanese have been working on satellites, huge solar panels 2 km on each side, and 36,000 km from the ground. Huge advantage: The yield is 8 times higher These solar panels are on the ground, and this electricity is available H 24.
To send this electricity to Earth, we’re not going to pull a cable. So the solution is Convert this electricity into a microwavedirecting them to a receiver on the ground, which is a complex technique that we’ve mastered.
On January 6, a team from Caltech University in California launched a small experimental satellite called MAPLE. This system successfully deployed its solar panels, produced electricity and transmitted the first microwave signal to a receiver located on the university’s roof. This is an unusual first.
Then CalTech engineers plan to Create a fleet of large solar sails Thus the electricity can be directed towards the ground. For example, let’s imagine, in an area cut off from any electrical network, or a war zone where the infrastructures have been destroyed. Better expectation, of course.
There, in orbit, the sun is pounding hard, and non-stop, there are billion billion kilowatt-hours to recover. So maybe in 50 years our cars will run on space electricity.