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China successfully builds and tests a terrestrial complex that will allow in the future to harness solar energy from space

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Space solar energy It offers the advantage that it can be captured and used at any time, without having to wait for daylight or a clear sky, as happens from Earth.

Xidian University (China) construction of the world’s first integrated system for testing technologies that would later enable the conversion and utilization of space solar energy was completed. The steel installation, 75 meters high and located on the campus of the educational institution, “successfully passed” the first tests this month and has the approval of a team of experts for its use ahead of schedule, according to a communiqué published this Tuesday.

This complex houses five subsystems that will make it possible to test on planet Earth a concept that China plans to develop with the future construction of a space-based solar energy. Once built and put into orbit, the purpose is to collect photons from the Sun from its panels, convert them into electricity using photovoltaic cells and transmit them wirelessly in the form of microwaves to a receiver on the Earth’s surface. This energy offers the advantage that it can be captured and used at any time, without having to wait for daylight or a clear sky, as happens from Earth.

In In this context, with the so-called “first full-link solar power plant” by Xidian scholars, it is possible to simulate that whole process, but with sunlight passing through the atmosphere instead of solar energy from space. At the same time, the system will serve to test the technologies for the effective use of solar energy and the methods to control your transmission.

Performs the complete process , from the tracking of the Sun, the concentration of light, the photoelectric conversion and the transmission of microwaves, to the reception and rectification of microwaves”, assures the academician Duan Baoyan, who directs the project.

The rehearsals of last June 5 allowed verify a series of key technologies. Advances were found in sections such as high-efficiency light concentration and photoelectric conversion, microwave conversion, emission, reception and rectification, and the design of intelligent mechanical structures, says the university. One of the most remarkable results was the wireless transmission of energy in the form of microwaves over a distance of approximately 55 meters.

The panel of experts assures that the results denote a “leading advance” that lays the foundation for China’s development of wireless microwave power transmission technology and space-based solar power plant technology, collects the local newspaper People’sDaily. In this regard, Baoyan believes that, although research on this subject is booming worldwide, the launch of satellites in space for their use will take years and effort. The cost of launching these satellites and the construction of solar collectors, as well as other technological and security obstacles, are some of the reasons.

According to the portal Gizmodo, the proposal on China ground is part of the OMEGA project (Orb-Shape Membrane Energy Gathering Array), by Baoyan and colleagues, created by the China National Space Administration in 2014. Two years earlier, NASA had announced a similar concept, the SPS-ALPHA (Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array), which would feature a single space-based satellite, made up of several smaller elements that could transmit power to Earth.

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