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Europe invests in solar energy from space

Europe invests in solar energy from space

for him Energy Reliance so is greenhouse gas emissions To limit this, Europe is seriously considering generating energy in space. According to the head of ESA Joseph Aschbacher Space solar technology is an important step towards energy independence and CO2 neutrality. Two new independent studies recommend investments in technology.

The studies The Consulting companies Fraser Nash of the UK and Roland Berger of Germany were completed in August 2022. Both are evaluating the potential and cost of solar power from space. Although the development of space solar technology Still in the early stages, companies are advised to invest in technology early on in order to take a leading role here.

Space solar technology is very complex

The concept is simple, at least in theory. Satellites collect solar energy in their orbit and send energy to Earth via microwaves. There the rays can cross antennas collected and converted into electricity. The efficiency Of the PV systems in space are much larger than those on Earth. You can constantly collect solar energy and not be disturbed by clouds. In addition, they can align themselves so that sunlight is in 90 degree angle It is located on the panels.

However, the installation of such systems in space Hundreds of billions of euros costs. Europe consumes about 3000 TWh of electricity annually. To get a quarter of that from space-based solar technology, it would require dozens of satellites, each 10 times larger than that. International Space Station. In order to build these systems, you will have to fly countless times in space. The consulting firm Frazer-Nash estimates that it will take 4 to 6 years for all parts of a single facility to be in orbit.

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Big criticism of plans

But there is little criticism of this concept. Elon Muskwho will certainly benefit from plans with his space company, SpaceX, called it stupidest thing In any case. “With a solar array in orbit, you get twice as much energy from the sun, but you also have to double the conversion: photon to electron to photon to electron,” Musk said. time to get a conversion efficiency of 50 percent.”

Just as clearly assigns it Caltech physicist and former NASA employee Casey Handmer in his book Articles: “I can assume 100 percent transmission efficiency, transmission costs of $10 per kilo, full development and procurement cost parity, and a severe shortage of land on Earth. Even then, space-based solar energy will not be competitive.”