China wants to be able to generate solar energy from space in just a few years. A first ground test of the space project has now been successfully carried out. The “day-by-day project” is part of the OMEGA project (Orb-Shape Membrane Energy Gathering Array), which was launched back in 2014.
Chinese space project with successful ground test
The goal of the OMEGA project, he said, is to use satellites to generate solar energy from space around the clock by 2030. In low earth orbit (LEO), energy transfer should be possible as early as 2028.
A first ground test of the project has now been successfully carried out at China’s Xidian University. The “day-by-day project” for ground verification has already achieved important results, it says in the announcement.
To that end, the team, led by academic Duan Baoyan, had constructed and erected a steel tower about 75 meters high that would use high-frequency microwave beams to capture solar energy from satellites.
Specifically, this has verified various technologies such as“high-efficiency concentrating and photoelectric conversion, microwave conversion, microwave transmission and waveform optimization, microwave beam point measurement and control, microwave reception and rectification, and intelligent mechanical structure design”.
The advantage of space solar energy is that it could be obtained by satellites at any time and in any weather condition. It would also eliminate the need for maintenance and cleaning of corresponding equipment and solar panels. However, it is still unknown what effects said microwave radiation could have on humans, air traffic and other technologies.
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Solar race against the US, India or Russia
The US space agency NASA is researching a very similar project under the name SPS-Alpha (Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array). Many other countries, such as India and Russia, are also currently researching similar possibilities for generating solar energy from space.
However, according to Xidian University, the Chinese OMEGA space solar power plant is expected to offer three key advantages. Reduced control difficulties, as well as heat dissipation pressure and a power-to-work ratio that is about 24 percent higher, which measures the power generated by the unit mass of the sky system.
So solar power from space is still a thing of the future. Solar on the roads, however, is much closer. As evidenced by the Lightyear 0 solar car, which is scheduled to launch before the end of 2022.