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Space Based Solar Power

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Presented By: Shweta Section E-4 Roll No.- 108640



Need OF Space Based Solar Power

Population Growth Global warming Environmental pollution Rapid decrease of fossil fuels

Increasing energy demand


According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the worldwide demand for energy is predicted to increase 44% by 2030 and for India, the demand is expected to more than double by 2030, growing at rate of 3.6 per cent per year By 2050, even if we use every available energy resource we have, clean and dirty, conventional and alternative, solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, coal, oil, and gas, the world will fall short of the energy we need

A major task for the 21st century is to develop clean, environmental friendly and sustainable resource of energy. Many renewable energy sources are limited in their ability to affordably provide the base load power required for global industrial development and prosperity, because of inherent land and water requirements.

Space based solar power is one of the most promising option to the stated problems .This is an energy source that is close to infinite produces no carbon emissions reach the most distant locations of the world turn countries into energy exporter

Drilling Up: How large is the GEO solar resource?


1 year x 1 km wide band 212 TW-years All Remaining Oil Resource A single kilometer-wide band of GEO produces enough solar flux in one 250 TW-years year nearly equal to the amount of energy contained within all known recoverable conventional oil reserves on Earth today.

Advantages Over Earth Based Solar Power System


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Every square meter of space receives 1366 watts of solar radiation, but by the time it reaches the ground, it has been reduced to less than an average of 250 watts per square meter. 5 times more intense sunlight in space Space solar panels can collect solar energy for 24 hours per day, whereas ground panels can collect for 12 hours per day at most There is no need for the costly storage devices


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Space based panels are not affected by, by the by atmospheric absorption and scattering, cloud cover, wind, and other weather events Relatively quickly redirect power directly to areas where it is most needed provide continuous and predictable power to any location on Earth Thus they are more reliable than ground based solar power

1968s idea for obtaining Space Based Solar Power proposed by Peter Glaser Idea gained momentum during the Oil Crises of 1970s, but after prices stabilized idea was dropped US DOE put forward the SPS Reference System Concept in 1979

The central feature of this concept was the creation of a large scale power infrastructure in space, consisting of about 60 SPS, delivering a total of about 300GW.But, as a result of the huge price tag, lack of evolutionary concept and the subsiding energy crisis in 1980-1981, all U.S SPS efforts were terminated with a view to re-asses the concept after about ten years.


Fresh look Study l SSP Concept Definition Study l SSP Exploratory and Research Technology Program System studies and analysis SSP Research and technology SPS technology demonstration

Fresh look Study

During 1995-96, NASA conducted a Fresh Look Study to determine whether a SPS and associated systems could be defined and examined the modern state of SBSP feasibility The Fresh Look Study concluded that the prospects for power from space were more technically viable than they had been earlier.

SSP Concept Definition Study

During 1998, NASA conducted the SSP Concept Definition Study which was a focused one year effort that tested the results of the previous Fresh Look Study. A principal product of the efforts was the definition of a family of strategic R&T road maps for the possible development of SSP technologies

SSP Exploratory and Research Technology Program

In 2000, NASA conducted the SERT Program which further defined new system concepts. The SERT Program comprised of three complementary elements: System studies and analysis SSP Research and technology SPS technology demonstration

SERT 's conclusions

To meet increasing global energy demand there is need to install new power plants of all sizes. l The environmental impact of plants and their impact on world energy supplies can be problematic.

Renewable energy is a compelling approach, both philosophically and in engineering terms but they are limited. l Space solar power systems appear to possess many significant environmental advantages when compared to alternative approaches

Space Solar Power System



a means of collecting solar power in space, for example via solar cells or a heat engine a means of transmitting power to earth, for example via microwave or laser a means of receiving power on earth, for example via a microwave antenna (rectenna)

Solar Panel

These are array of solar cells can be placed in one of three Earth orbits (geostationary, medium-Earth, or lowEarth) They can be kilometer sized capture solar energy either by photovoltaic or solar dynamic methods Solar cells work on the principle of photovoltaic conversion i.e. use semiconductor cells to directly convert photons into electrical power

The system requires large transmitters and receivers The transmitting antenna on the satellite can have about 1 km diameter. The smaller the transmitter array, the larger the angle of divergence of the transmitted beam. A highly divergent beam will spread out over a large area, and may be too weak to activate the rectenna .So the transmitter antenna or laser aperture are kept larger.

Wireless Transmission
This is also known as power beaming. Methods: Microwave Transmission Laser Transmission

Microwave vs. Laser Transmission

More developed High efficient up to 85% can cause interference with satellite communication industry Beams are far below the fatal levels of concentration even for a prolonged exposure, Power level is well below international safety standard

Recently developed solid state lasers Conversion back into electricity is inefficient, about 40%-50% efficiency no radio-frequency interference to existing radio communication such as Wi-fi and cell phones Confirm to cause damage to skin and eyes

Earth Based Receiver


An antenna comprising a mesh of dipoles and diodes for absorbing microwave energy from a transmitter and converting it into electric power Also known as Rectenna .Rectification is the process by which alternating electrical current ,such as that induced by a microwave beam , is converted to direct current 95% of the beam fall on Rectenna

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They are across multiple kilometers. Rectenna conversion efficiencies exceeding 95% have been realized Area underneath the rectenna can continue to be used for agricultural or pastoral purposes In some cases, if desired, land in colder regions could even use some of the extra energy to maintain crops year-round

5,000 MW Receiving Station (Rectenna). This station is about 3 Km long

Requirements for Space Solar Power System


Low-cost, environmental friendly Space launchesThe current rates on the Space Shuttle run between $7,000 and $11,000 per kilogram of transported material Large scale in-orbit construction and operationsTo gather massive quantities of energy, solar power satellites must be large Space Assembly, maintenance and servicing of space assembly and large in-space structures

A SBSP cannot be constructed without safe, frequent , cheap, and reliable access to space

Efficient and light weight space-qualified

solar arrays Power transmission-A relatively small effort is also necessary to assess how to best transmit power from satellites to the Earths surface

Options For Further advancements

Reusable launch systems may be used to provide lower launch costs to Earth orbits l Mass driver can be used as a launcher l Solar power stations can be built on the moon

Attractive Features Of SBSP

SBSP can be utilized as base load power
via direct connection to the existing electrical grids It can be utilized to manufacture synthetic hydrocarbon fuels, including gasoline, diesel, kerosene and jet fuel It can be used to power hybrid vehicles There can be no need to build and maintain new expensive electrical distribution grids. Relatively small autonomous rectenna-fed power grids can operate independently. Once the basic machinery needed to manufacture the solar arrays and to launch the solar power satellites is set up

Wireless Transmission Demonstration

William C. Brown demonstrated in 1964 a microwavepowered model helicopter that received all the power it needed for flight from a microwave beam from a microwave beam at 2.45 GHz. In1980, 30 kW of microwave power was transmitted to a receiving antenna over one mile with 84% efficiency Microwave power transmission has been demonstrated in May,2008 by U.S. and Japanese researchers when they wirelessly transmitted microwave energy between two Hawaiian islands about 90 miles (145 kilometers) apart, representing the distance through Earth's atmosphere that a transmission from orbit would have to penetrate. "Lasermotive"demonstrated laser powerbeaming at one kilometer during NASA's 2009 powerbeaming contest. Many other projects of laser powerbeaming are yet to be demonstrated

Comparison With Other Forms Of Energy

Fossil Fuel fired electric power plants in the US emits about 2 billion tons of greenhouse gas CO2 in to air every year. Unlike fossil fuel based power plants, space solar power does not emit greenhouse gases Unlike coal and nuclear plants, space solar power does not compete for or depend upon increasingly scarce fresh water resources Unlike nuclear power plants, space solar power will not produce hazardous radioactive waste, which needs to be stored and guarded for hundreds of years The researchers found that producing electricity from solar cells reduces air pollutants by about 90 percent in comparison to using conventional fossil fuel technologies Unlike terrestrial solar and wind power plants, space solar power is always available. It works regardless of cloud cover, daylight, or wind speed Possible power generation of 5 to 10 giga watts

Fossil Fuel Nuclear Wind Power Ground Solar Hydro Bio-fuels Space Solar

No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Decades remaining Fuel Limited Intermittent Intermittent

Yes Yes No No

Drought; Complex Scheduling Limited Qty Competes w/Food Yes Yes

Recent Developments:

Recently in 2009,Several companies have announced future SBSP partnerships and commitments, including Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) & Solaren Mitsubishi Electric Corp. & IHI Corporation, Space Energy and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. The California Power Utility Company Pacific Gas & Electric Company signed a contract to buy 200 MW of electricity from Solaren Corp Solaren hopes to begin launching before 2016. Solaren designers have developed a system involving multiple satellites to be delivered into geosynchronous orbit on heavy lift launch vehicles This project would be the first real-world application of space solar power, a technology that has been talked about for decades but never turned into reality. If successful and affordable, the project could mark the beginning of space-based solar power in other locations, as well.

SPS 2000 An SPS Demonstrator

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Its aim is to build a low cost 10 MW demonstration of SPS by 2025 Eight equatorial countries are keen to participate in SPS and provide a site for a rectenna 10 MW satellite delivering microwave power in the low orbit 1100 km(683 miles) Target is that the SPS 2000 satellite should cost about the same as a solar energy plant or a dam on Earth - about $100 million for about 10 MW By 2040,japan will start a SPS operation. The planned satellite will be able to generate 1GW/ a geostationary orbit. The receiving antenna (rectenna) on the ground will be either positioned at desert or sea.


Space energy is not the only option for solving the worlds future energy needs, but it may well emerge as a serious

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candidate among the various options for meeting the energy demands of the 21st century . Although Basic technology has been developed ,great deal of work is needed to bring them to practical implementation Its true that space solar power development costs will be very large, although much smaller than the costs of global warming, climate change, or carbon sequestration as it is absolutely clean and environmental friendly.

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