Monday, September 8, 2008

Orbital Power Plant

Immediately following Space Sunshield, Project Earth Orbital Power Plant will debut.

In this episode, the Project Earth team will attempt to test state-of-the-art solar cells in near Space. If these solar cells are able to be deployed in near Space, solar cells will be able to five times as much energy as solar cells on the ground.

The premise is to launch thousands of satellites that will be able to convert the solar energy into microwave energy. This microwave energy will be able to be collected by antennas on the ground that will be able to convert the energy into electricity.

Updates from this episode of Discovery Project Earth:

To be edited later...

The Earth's atmosphere scatters and absorbs about 50% of the Sun's energy. Clouds and obviously the night block the suns rays even further. These two negatives alone keep solar cells from performing under optimal circumstances.

The Project Earth Team has two objectives in this episode. They need to engineer microwave power to transport energy miles away and they need to find solar cells for space. ENTECH

The team expects to use solar concentrators to be used on the solar cells to boost their effectiveness. 8x more effective

The solar cell will be launched to 100,000 feet above the ground. Two solar cells to be launched. One control solar cell without a solar concentrator and one solar cell with a concentrator. The lenses and arrays needed to endure temperatures 100 degrees below zero.

At 35,000 feet, the Sun's energy is 25% stronger.
At 60,000 feet, the temperature falls to -106 degrees.
At 106,000 feet balloon froze and the experiment ends.

A single square yard of solar cells in space can account for the energy usage of a three person family.

8 times more power with the fernel(spelling) lense.

the microwave power will need to travel 22,000 miles. data acquisition.

The project earth team tries many different tests for their microwave power idea. They span twelve feet, 150 feet and 60 miles, the actual depth of atmosphere that the microwaves would have to pass through.

To be edited later...


Anonymous said...

Could you use the microwave power project in combination with NASA’s tethered satellite project?In 1996, NASA experimented with a tethered satellite. The project used a tethered satellite (the tether containing metal and being 12.5 miles long), moving through the magnetosphere. It worked under the same principle as a dynamo, where a moving wire in a magnetic field would create electricity. One part of the circuit was the tether itself, where the other was the ionosphere, the distant, ionized region of our atmosphere.


Tom said...

I have a serious problem with the science and the techniques being used in all these approaches to solving very serious problems. For instance when they were testing the solar cells, why was the cell without a lens shielded with that bracket instead of being allowed to receive the oblique radiation from which it would continue to generate something instead of only getting a flash of light when the aperture passes over the cell. I'm not saying this stuff won't work but for a person who works with testing equipment like this for a living for the government I am becoming disillusioned with this series because of the sloppy experimental technique.

Anonymous said...

only data from the exact moment the sun shone directly on the cells was analysed if you look carefully

Alvin said...

It seems like the transmission loss offsets the increased efficiency in space.

David Larson said...

It's a Fresnel lens.

Hastings Store said...

It is unfortunate that Project Earth's page doesn't have a way through which viewers can submit ideas. Has anyone ever heard of the self-powering battery? I know it is very sci-fi, much in the way of Startgate et al, but you can read about it here:

If for some reason the link goes down, or if links of this sort are frowned upon, I saved the article as a word document...

Anonymous said...

I'm a student of Mara Junior Science College, Kulim, Kedah, Malaysia. I know it's a brilliant idea to transfer energy through. So, I have planned for my cousework to do an experiment about wireless elecktric transfer. I really need a help about the apparatus need for this experiment and how to setup it.

Mohamad Faizal

rilu said...

This is an ignorant idea. You cannot solve global warming by increasing the radiation transmitted to the planet!

Ne5OSpEoxJxAgaxhL5TYtyAe said...

I am right now watching this episode as it is aired on Discovery Science in Sweden.

As a solar cell researcher myself I am very disappointed by the "show" - because that's what it is in my eyes.

Firstly, the earth atmosphere absorbs less than 50% of the solar energy. Also at geostationary orbit the satellites will go through the earth shadow around the equinoxes. This means that not all problems are solved as compared to earth-bound photovoltaics - you would still need some storage capacity or alternative power sources which will only be needed for several days every year. How reliable is a system which is used so rarely?

Secondly, the amount of UV radiation as measured by Basil on the mountain top is not of big significance. Even a tripple-junction solar cell as the ones featured on the balloon will not gain much from the little increase in UV radiation (65W at sea-level to 75W on the mountain and perhaps 85W in outer space). Of course you would need to optimize your solar cells for the AM0 spectrum of outer space.

Thirdly, it was mentioned that an area of 250000 square kilometres would be needed on earth with conventional solar cells to cover the world's need. Not discussing the accuracy of this figure - that's not soo big! It's a square with 500km long sides. We have this space available on earth: on rooftops and in the deserts of the world!

Then the Fresnel lens - it will not reduce the aperture area needed! You will still need to cover the same area - not with solar cells, but with lenses plus 1/8 of the area with solar cells. Concentrator photovoltaics are nothing new - they are already widely used in some large-scale installations e.g. in Spain.

And the the microwaves. Not only will you have transmission losses when they pass through the atmosphere - even if you are utilizing one of the absorption holes. But first of all the microwaves need to be generated and radiated. I missed an input power meter on the microwave generators used in the show, and I would be very surprised to see a conversion efficiency significantly above 65%. And then there will of course be conversion losses on the receiver side as well, I assume...

Another question is the power density at the receiver stations. Either the antenna arrays hae to be enormous or the power density needs to be high. High enough to cause severe problems if there should be a malfunction or misalignment.

I don't expect to see these satellites during my lifetime, but I expect to see much more photovoltaics and other renewable energies here on earth.


NYC Air Conditioning & Vent Cleaning said...

Solar capturing in itself is brilliant .It is a very economic way to use the energy and saves the electricity bills.Now capturing from the space would be even more interesting.