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How mirrors in space can increase solar energy production on Earth

How mirrors in space can increase solar energy production on Earth

If after startup Orbital reflection In the future, 57 small satellites equipped with mirrors will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 600 kilometers. The California-based company wants to continue production even after dusk and before sunrise solar energy make it possible, Space.com reports.

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The CEO explained during an international conference in London on energy and space Ben Nowak His views on this topic. He and his team want to have the first prototype by 2024 Sun-synchronous polar orbit Sends.

30 minutes more from the sun

Reflect Orbital's satellites are intended to reach Earth From pole to pole Orbit while the Earth rotates beneath it. This way they will fly over each spot at the same time of day: 2 times a day They will pass there 24 hours a day. Mirror The satellites must then direct sunlight to places on the planet where there are solar systems. These power plants can thus be supplied with additional energy every day 30 minutes of solar radiation, also called orbital reflectivity.

At the conference held in London, the CEO expressed his regret Sun light Not available when we need a lot of energy – before sunrise and after sunset. Because in these times you need more electricity.

Sunlight should be collected into a beam and sent to the Earth.

Sunbeam customized

Only satellites weighing 16 kilograms will be included About 10 by 10 metres huge Mylar mirrors Be equipped so that it can be aligned according to the sunlight. Supposedly, the mirrors are designed to focus sunlight into a narrow beam. This means that the light can be directed directly into the solar power plant. To do this, Reflect Orbital only needs the system's coordinates.

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The idea of ​​mirrors itself is not new: Russia brought them in the 1990s Mission “Znamiya 2”. A mirror in space thus created one Ray of light, which hit the Earth's surface. The project Solpas from the University of Glasgow is currently following a similar plan to Reflect Orbital.

Many challenges

Big problem of solar energy Solar radiation is still unreliable. These power plants do not produce any electricity at night. That's why many companies are working on it Storage technologiesWhich makes it possible to use solar energy even in these times.

Reflect Oribtal sees redirecting sunlight into solar energy systems as the solution. But your idea also has opponents. They warn that Light pollution It can get worse if the technology is not fully developed. Otherwise, satellites could shine brighter than stars. This may make the work of astronomers more difficult. Satellites such as… Starlink Problems in observing celestial bodies.

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