Scientists from Xidian University of China have achieved a milestone by completing the testing procedure of the “world’s first full-line and full-system solar power plant.” This is a step forward in mitigating the energy crisis on Earth with the help of generating energy from space through high-frequency microwave beams. The 246-foot tall steel tower is a space-based solar power plant and is located on the southern campus of Xidian University. According to the university, the project is three years ahead of its schedule, which determines its operational capability and the high probability of making this project commercialized.
This state-of-the-art power plant works by establishing a connection with geostationary satellites. Now, this is the most exciting part of this technology as the generation of solar energy from space is the most efficient way of accumulating energy. This method of solar energy doesn’t encompass any problems with bad weather or sunlight. It can continuously generate an unlimited amount of solar energy. Orbital satellites would catch the mechanism because of their rotation in geostationary orbits and then transfer the energy back to the Earth with the help of high-frequency microwave beams as a source.
However, scientists have identified a need to build space-based solar power arrays that can easily transmit the solar energy back to Earth, and to incorporate this technology, the power plant encompasses five unique subsystems, which will be linked to the arrays in space. This ground-based project of Xidian University is a part of another space-based solar power project named OMEGA. It was introduced back in 2014 by Duan Baoyan from the Xidian University School of Electromechanical Engineering.
On the other hand, NASA is also thriving in the race of solar and space-based projects, and a notable project known as SPS-ALPHA (Solar Power Satellite via Arbitrarily Large Phased Array) was also declared in 2012 and worked on the same mission just like OMEGA. NASA says, “If successful, SPS-ALPHA will make possible the construction of huge platforms from tens of thousands of small elements that can deliver remotely and affordably 10s to 1000s of megawatts using wireless power transmission to markets on Earth and missions in space.”
Concurrently, China’s OMEGA project is now on the road to success as it has achieved the transmission of energy at a distance of about 180 feet in the form of microwaves. This shows that the project is soon going to be available commercially in the market, as we already know that it is three years ahead of its schedule.