Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Space - The final Solar Power frontier

Japan, a country with few energy resources of its own, instead relying heavily on oil imports has already set ambitious co2 gas reduction targets this year but that is nothing compared to one of the boldest plans ever announced - the Space Solar Power System.

The idea is to place huge arrays of photovoltaic solar panels - several miles across - in space to collect the sun's rays. The energy would then be transmitted to the ground via clusters of microwaves or lasers. On the ground, huge antennae would be needed to collect the energy.

Researchers are hoping to build a 1GW system (equivalent to a medium sized atomic power plant) which would be able to produce electricity at around 5p per kilowatt-hour - 6 times cheaper than the current cost in Japan.

You can read the full details and see some pretty artist impressions of the project on Sky News website (click here).

We loved the last line "Jaxa (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) said the technology would be safe but conceded it might have to dispel fears of laser beams from above roasting birds or slicing up aircraft in mid-air". Great stuff.

photo credit: mightyohm

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