Orbiting Space Power Systems Would Convert Sunlight into Laser Beams

japanese solar satellite
While the rest of the world (save for the Indians) has been busy focusing on mainly terrestrial-based solar energy alternatives, the Japanese have been looking to the heavens to find a potential solution. Scientists from the Institute of Laser Engineering at Osaka University and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) have just developed a new technology for converting sunlight into laser beams — a technology that could form the basis for JAXA's Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS) project.

The SSPS project seeks to put a prototype space-based power system in orbit — 22,400 mi (36,000 km) above the equator — with the goal of harnessing the sun's energy to produce laser beams that would generate electricity or hydrogen on Earth through the intermediary of a terrestrial power station. The lasers — using plates built from a ceramic material containing chromium, which can absorb sunlight, and neodymium, which converts it into laser beams — outperformed earlier technologies four times over, demonstrating a solar-to-laser energy conversion efficiency of 42%.

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The main advantage of using space-based power systems over terrestrial ones is that the former will not be subject to cloudy conditions or nighttime darkness, allowing them to collect solar energy 24 hours a day. The researchers estimate that a single satellite-mounted power system could generate as much energy as a 1-GW nuclear power plant by the time they send the first one into orbit in the next few decades.

Via ::Pink Tentacle: Electricity from orbiting solar-powered lasers (blog)

See also: ::40% Efficient Solar Cells: They Are Being Used Back On Earth

Orbiting Space Power Systems Would Convert Sunlight into Laser Beams
While the rest of the world (save for the Indians) has been busy focusing on mainly terrestrial-based solar energy alternatives, the Japanese have been looking to the heavens to find a potential solution. Scientists from the Institute of Laser