WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION

SOLAR POWER SATELLITE (SPS)
– POWERING THE FUTURE
“Energy can neither be created nor be destroyed. But it has a remarkable capability that can change its form from one form to another!!!”

By: M.Mohamed Shimil & M.Nagaraj. B.E.EIE (Ist year), SREC, Vattamalaipalayam, Coimbatore-22.

Its Advantages are a few to be named are being discussed. Hydro) is compared to energy from space in the form of Solar Power Satellites.Page 2 WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION SOLAR POWER SATELLITE ABSTRACT Using power resources of the outer space and its industrialization have become an urgent task in the development of present day civilization. Anyhow. Solar Energy is the most suitable basis for power supply for the majority of projects in the near-Earth space. In addition. Energy Conversion. The future global supply with Terrestrial demonstration which Regenerative Energies(Thermal. Obviously. regenerative solutions must be taken into account and installed with higher priority within the next decades to reduce the deposition of carbon-di-oxide into the atmosphere. It is shown that both have the potential to satisfy global energy needs. the costs. transmission by Microwaves is supposed. . major progress with cost reductions of one to two orders of magnitude is required for the space option to become competitive with terrestrial regenerative options. the threatening depletion of fossil and nuclear fuels in the long run forces research into alternative solutions. The concepts and the designs have the potential to reduce significantly the complexities and thus. Energy Transmission. Wind. its Brief History. But the technological are demands still and operational uncertainties immense. Passing on to the large-scale space-based systems of power supply requires experiments putting in into life power This paper describes the Evolvement of Solar Power Satellite. This is absolutely necessary to stabilize the climate. Its Design.

concept. due to increased energy demand.Page 3 INTRODUCTION A Solar Power Satellite. HISTORY An Artist's Concept Of A Solar Power Satellite (NASA)  The SPS interesting. This is. starting in 1997 with the NASA "Fresh Look". an absolute requirement of space solar power. now known as a Rectenna. is a satellite built in high Earth orbit that uses microwave power transmission to beam solar power to a very large antenna on Earth. the SPS concept has again become . increased energy costs.  They found  significant investments in US technology National (not a Space Policy now calls for NASA to make particular vehicle) to drive the costs of ETO [Earth to Orbit] transportation down dramatically. recently. it showed enough promise to merit further investigation and research.chiefly the expense of putting the required materials in orbit and the lack of experience on projects of this scale in space.  More news report states that "The Pentagon's National Security Space Office (NSSO) may begin a study in the near future on the possibility of using satellites to collect solar energy for use on Earth. originally known as Satellite Solar Power System (SSPS) was first described 1973 by Peter Glaser. while the concept had several major problems -. In this method of transmitting power over long distances using microwaves from a very large antenna on the satellite to a much larger one on the ground. and emission implications.  A 2007 Fox that. of course.

they are flexible.Page 4 SPACECRAFT DESIGN An SPS essentially consists of three parts: 1. and high production capability by depositing special materials in very thin (microns) layers on rolled substrates similar to newspaper printing. 3. They may not require the structural support required for terrestrial use. and will be designed to be tolerant to the space radiation environment. 2. In addition. for for example via Solar Cells or a Heat Engine. which lends themselves for deposition on lightweight deployable / inflatable structures needed for packaging of extremely large arrays in launch vehicles. since they will be optimized for weight. Photovoltaic Conversion(PV). They hold promise for low mass. Concentrated Photovoltaic Conversion(CPV). solar cells will likely be rather different from the glass-pane protected solar cell panels familiar to many from current terrestrial use. And Solar Dynamic (SD) Conversion discussed below. A means of receiving power on earth.. Photovoltaic Conversion (PV) Most analyses of SPS have focused on photovoltaic conversion.g. In an SPS implementation. A means of collecting solar power in A means of transmitting power to earth. as material purity and processing issues during production affect performance. example via A Microwave Antennas (Rectenna). silicon or gallium arsenide) to directly convert photons into electrical power via a Quantum Mechanical Mechanism. Photovoltaic cells are not perfect in practice. but are much less expensive and generally lighter. thin-film approaches are less efficient (about 20% to 35%). Thin-film Solar Cells Thin film cells represent one better option for the future. commonly known as “Solar Cells”. example via Microwave or Laser. Photovoltaic conversion uses semiconductor cells (e. for space. each has been progressively improved for some decades. low cost. Some new. . but will not need to be designed against corrosion by the elements. where the considerable gravity loading imposes structural requirements on terrestrial implementations. SOLAR ENERGY CONVERSION (SOLAR PHOTONS TO DC CURRENT) Two basic methods of converting sunlight to electricity have been studied.

an SPS implementation will be similar.Page 5 Concentrated Photovoltaic Conversion (CPV) It is also possible to use Concentrating Photovoltaic (CPV) systems. and are able to reach efficiencies above 40%. This then will connect to a Generator or Dynamo to produce electrical power. which uses solar systems. the majority of the deployed collecting area in CPV systems is lenses or mirrors.. They can be constructed from very thin aluminum or other metal sheets with very light frames. Terrestrial Solar Dynamic Systems typically use a large reflector to focus sunlight to a high concentration to achieve a high temperature so the heat engine can operate at high efficiencies. A possible advantage of space for solar thermal power may be the ease with which huge mirrors can be supported and pointed in the freefall and vacuum conditions of space. mirrors or lenses to achieve a high concentration of sunlight on a much smaller area of solar cells. on the Moon's surface). In this type of conversion the density of solar cells are higher because of smaller area of solar cells. Because the solar cell area required is rather smaller. Two heat cycles for solar dynamic are thought to be reasonable for this: The Brayton cycle or the Stirling cycle. . Solar dyanamic systems have the disadvantage of requiring moving parts in the electrical conversion element. it is called as Concentrating Photovoltaic Technology. Solar Dynamic Conversion (SD) Solar Dynamic conversion uses a Heat Engine. or from materials available in space (eg. consisting of a Piston or a Turbine which uses expansion of a working fluid to produce motion from heat.

As well. launch and deployment) to provide net power it must repay the energy needed to construct it. with an SPS. Lifetimes for SD based SPS designs will be similarly limited. it would be possible to recycle much of the satellite 'on-site'. surfaces degradation or loss of lubricants and working fluids in vacuum. use of glass coversheets for the cells reduces the degradation rate to a few percent per year. Solar satellites can pay back the energy in a remarkably short time. Without a protection. For current silicon PV panels this is relatively high. potentially at a significantly lower cost than launching an SPS as new. which would be safe for both birds as well planes to fly through. the payback time would be 29. fluid seals or pumps. though largely for structural or mechanical considerations.5 hours. and replacement may be practical. Assuming much less efficient (and more realistic) 3% efficient systems and 50 W/kg solar arrays. for a system (including manufacture. such as meteorite impact. Again.Page 6 A solar power satellite beams down energy to a reception area on Earth in the form of microwaves. Deterioration is likely to be more rapid during periods of high exposure to energetic protons from Solar Particle Outburst events. The satellite generates a 1kW with 2kg of mass. but would require an inorbit re-processing facility. the energy payback time is only extended to about a year for such an SPS. however. Clearly. most mirror surfaces will degrade from meteorite impact. . metal fatigue of turbine blades. but such mirrors can be designed simply (and so to be light and cheap). wear of sliding ENERGY PAYBACK For an SPS system (including manufacture. at the end of life. and from temperature variation extremes. WORKING LIFETIME The lifetime of a PV-based SPS is limited mainly by the ionizing radiation from the radiation of the Sun. This might allow an expensive launch cost to be paid for over multiple satellite lifetimes. In principle. this would cause the cells to degrade rapidly. launch and deployment) to provide net power it must repay the energy needed to construct it. the net energy received on the ground is higher so this energy payback period would be somewhat reduced.

The power could be transmitted as either microwave or laser correspondingly high) since antenna efficiency increases as antenna size increases relative to the wavelength used.45 GHz has been proposed as being a reasonable compromise. Typical energy conversion ratio from the solar energy to the electrical energy is 10% to 30%. as energy per photon. a microwavepowered model helicopter that received all the power it needed for flight from a microwave beam. Ionization of biological materials doesn't begin until ultraviolet or higher frequencies so most Radio Frequencies will be acceptable for this. Basic idea of SSPS is to collect the solar energy in orbit and send it to ground by microwave.45 GHz for retransmission to the ground. An airship has been proposed to receive higher frequencies. from the microwave to the electricity are much higher than this conversion ratio. the conversion ratio from the solar energy to the electrical energy will mainly decide the size of the SPS. The highest frequencies that can be used are limited by atmospheric absorption (chiefly water vapor and CO2) at higher microwave frequencies. the wavelength should be small (and frequency other way. and so the ability to cause ionization. that frequency results in large antenna sizes at the Geostationary Orbit distance. William C. Brown in 1964 demonstrated. To minimize the sizes of the antennas used. 2. For these reasons. increases with frequency. the solar energy must be converted to electrical energy and then converted further to the microwave. the transmitting radiation would have to be non-ionizing to avoid potential disturbances either ecologically or biologically if it is to reach the Earth's surface.Page 7 WIRELESS POWER TRANSMISSION TO THE EARTH Wireless power transmission was early proposed to transfer energy from collection to the Earth's surface. Many type of solar cells and other type of energy conversion system are being developed. He was able to beam 30 kW of power over a distance of 1 mile at 84% efficiency. Major hurdle in this power transmission is how to improve efficiency of converting the solar energy to the electrical energy. In case of sending the energy by microwave. converting them to something like 2. However. Since other conversion ratio such as from the electricity to the microwave. laser beam or some radiation at a variety of frequencies depending on system design. The on-ground rectifying antenna will receive this microwave beam and convert it into the electrical energy. This established an upper bound for the frequency used. Whatever choice is made. .

10MW class experimental solar power satellite that might be a scale model of the operational solar power satellite will be .Page 8 Another promising energy transmission method is to use Laser Beam. This laser beam will be collected on ground and will be used to produce electrical energy of other type of energy sources PROPOSED SPS The goal is set to realize the 1 GW class operational solar power satellite in the Geo-stationary Earth Orbit in 20 to 30 years. power plant. There are several concepts of the 1GW class SSPS. still there should be a lot of technical challenges to realize the operational solar power satellite. and how to convert the laser beam to other form of storable or transmittable energy forms. Solar lights are collected by mirrors at the generator / transmitter. A satellite power transmission antenna will be build for this mission. with solar paddles and a large phased array microwave However. Technical challenge of this method is to how to produce laser beam from the solar energy. The laser beam will be produced from the solar energy using solid-state laser devices. The second step of the roadmap is development and verification of technologies to build a huge space structure in an economical way. a road map to realize the operational solar power satellite in 20 years is proposed. 1GW is an output of a popular atomic such as hydrogen. The first step is the demonstration of the wireless power transmission (WPT) and evaluation of environmental effects that may be caused by the wireless power transmission.

lower cost to orbit. power will be completely vanished. 1GW of power will just be sufficient to serve the purposes of the partial basic activities of the world in 2020!!! difficulties. dam retention lakes). The SPS concept is attractive because space has avoid the expensive storage facilities (eg. Economical The third step is building a 250MW class prototype solar power satellite will be build in the Geo-stationary Earth Orbit. let also considerably greater. Crops and farm animals may be raised underneath a rectenna. Rectenna’s would be multiple kilometers across. governments would be reluctant to sell to developing. but it would certainly take longer to prepare and launch the number of required satellites. Economical and Efficient space transportation system must be developed to realize this system.).Page 9 built using robots in a low Earth orbit. etc) necessary in many Earth-based power generation systems. It might be possible to deploy LEO systems sooner than GEO because the antenna development would take less time. as the thin wires used for support and for the dipoles will only slightly reduce sunlight. lakes behind dams. There is no air in space. etc. but the cost and complexity is ADVANTAGES OF AN SPS 1. Whether bio-fuels can support the western world. Microwaves broadcast from the SPS will be received in the dipoles with about 85% efficiency. There would be both advantages (much shorter energy transmission path lengths allowing smaller antenna sizes. assuming appropriate antennas are available.) and disadvantages (constantly changing EARTH BASED INFRASTRUCTURE The Earth-based receiver antenna or rectenna is a critical part of the original SPS concept. several major advantages over the Earth's surface for the collection of solar power. unaffected by weather. At this point of time. oil storage tanks. In geostationary orbit. the reception efficiency is still better. etc. Additionally. connected via diodes. an SPS will have none of the polluting consequences of fossil fuel systems. With a conventional microwave antenna. Nuclear power especially is something many . nor the ecological problems resulting from many renewable or low impact power generation systems (eg. This characteristic of SPS based power generation systems to 2. The main operational system coming into the account where the remaining ways to generate the terrestrial electrical LEO/MEO INSTEAD OF GEO A collection of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) space power stations has been proposed as a precursor to GEO (Geostationary Orbit) space power beaming system(s). It would probably consist of many short dipole antennas. antenna geometries. almost certainly prohibitively so. increased debris collision building of the SSPS is essential in realizing the operational SSPS. requirement of many more power stations to provide continuous power delivery at any particular point on the Earth's surface. the solar power will have tremendous demand over other generation types. coal dumps. An SPS would also be applicable on a global scale. so such a rectenna would not be as expensive in terms of land use as might be supposed. energy delivery to much of the Earth's surface. an SPS would be illuminated over 99% of the time. so the collecting surfaces would receive much more intense sunlight.

4. where energy costs have been relatively low. which can be as much as $200. If power stations can be placed outside Earth orbit. an SPS must cost no more than existing supplies. "How can a SPS produce electricity cheaper than a coal plant when it costs ten times as much to build?" This is where $/kW is especially misleading. which make up the largest percentage of mass. and health costs).Page 10 alone the developed world. the potential power production possible is enormous. the majority of such satellites--weather and communications. a manned Mars mission might only cost hundreds of millions. Structural components. 3. instead of tens of billions. Nearly all of the other components can be modularized for easy replacement/upgrade. Satellites do not. (Such costs must include the costs of cleaning waste from construction. Developing the industrial capacity needed to construct and maintain one or more SPS systems would significantly reduce the cost of other space endeavors. SPS poses no such problems. More long-term. especially if it is deployed for some countries. or offer other advantages. In the extreme. fail due to correctable maintenance issues which we do not correct because we have no repair people on site. SPS'S ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY In order to be competitive on a purely economic level. This may be difficult. the upper limit is vastly higher still. Neither of these failure modes is much of a problem if service is available. is currently a matter of debate. At present. It must cost less to deploy. but normal maintenance and replacement of less durable components makes this unlikely. if it can rely on an already existing capability. Common failures are: running out of station keeping fuel or dead batteries-no longer holding a charge. last forever. or operate for a very long period of time. Many studies have suggested that the lifetime is effectively infinite. A coal station's lifespan costs must take into account the cost of coal. in our now-extensive experience. operation and dismantling of the generating systems--including lifestyle.It can also be easy to confuse construction and system lifespan costs. But with regular maintenance there is no reason that a high orbit satellite has to ‘die’. With available refueling and battery replacement.000/year/Megawatt. Scaled up to lifespan costs equivalent to SSP proposals (30 years and 10GW) this equates to a 'hidden' cost of $60 billion. seldom fail. For example. the life of a satellite can be greatly increased. fuel. such arrangements are called Dyson Spheres. .

Retrieved on 2007-03-11. Hence the assessment is completed theoretically but practically. petroleum. HRST . Ethanol). in the US. Hydro-Electric. For most. The human dependency on carbon based fossil fuels (eg.3%. hydro-electric power accounted for 6. Energy Information Administration projects that in 2030 hydropower will decline to 3.S. have the capacity to supply only a fraction of the global energy requirement. Spaceport Visoning Concept Study Oct 2002 END OF THE PAPER . U. The fossil fuels perish in certain period if at all the intake of the REFERENCES 1. GEOTHERMAL) few sites still open. European Wind Energy Association.eia. Geothermal. ethanol). the human dependency of electricity has the capability to depend on this kind of source that is renewable. research is still in progress it has the ability to overcome the extinction of the natural resources.g. Electric Power Generation by Fuel Type (2005) 2. The practical employment of such devices can be done only if we apply it in the real time tasks in as reduced cost as possible and to yield maximum output. Energy Information Administration: 3. now or in the foreseeable future. and other renewables 2.Highly Reusable Space Transportation Project NASA above is at this rate.doe. have the capacity to supply only a tiny fraction of the global energy requirement. TIDAL. tidal energy. (WIND. Released Date: December http://www.. now or in the foreseeable future. Govt.Page 11 COMPARISON WITH OTHER RENEWABLES Most renewable energy sources (For Example. geothermal."Annual Energy Outlook 2007 (Early Release)". HYDRO. there are CONCLUSION Most renewable energy sources (e.gov/oiaf/aeo/pdf/table1.4% and other renewables will increase to 2. Tidal Energy. For 2005. costless. Solar Power Satellite solves the problem and in the near future and now.5% of electricity generation. EWEA Executive summary Analysis of Wind Energy in the EU-25 . and for hydro-electric projects in particular. not yet. For most. hydro-electric. the limitation is geography as there simply are very few sites in the world where generating systems can be built.S. coal and natural gas) is always on the tough side to answer due to its limited quantity.9%. the limitation is geography as there simply are very few sites in the world where generating systems can be built. The U. Report #:DOE/EIA-0383(2007). 4.pdf 2006 5.

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