Can a power plant in space send electricity back to Earth? China has a plan!

    China is planning to launch space-based solar power plant that will send electricity back to Earth. Know details.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Aug 22 2022, 12:53 IST
    power plant in space
    China is planning to launch space-based solar power in 2028. Know details. (Space Energy Initiative)
    power plant in space
    China is planning to launch space-based solar power in 2028. Know details. (Space Energy Initiative)

    China is planning a satellite which will send back energy to Earth! A report by South China Morning Post revealed that China will launch a solar power plant in space by the year 2028, and will reportedly place a satellite at an altitude of 400 kilometeres, the information by Chinese Space Science and Technology publication revealed. The paper mentions that this satellite would convert solar energy into electricity and then convert that into microwaves. And these lasers can then be transmitted to various fixed targets on Earth. Which can be converted back to electricity here!

    Well, the project will only generate 10 kilowatts of energy which is enough to power only a few homes. The paper mentioned the new plan proposes that a full-scale power plant will be built in four stages. Two years after the launch in 2028, China will send another more powerful satellite to a geostationary orbit about 36,000 km from the Earth. The plan aims to build a 10-megawatt power plant by 2035 which will start sending energy to even military and civilian users. Well, some researchers believe that this station's output could even rise to 2 gigawatts by 2050.

    Surprisingly, such a plan is not proposed by China only, even the United Kingdom will have a similar space-based solar power plant orbiting about 36,000 km from the earth by 2035. This will also use microwave radiation to bring the power back to Earth. Besides this, the United States Naval Research Laboratory has already tested such an experiment of solar energy generation by using a Boeing X-37 B space plane, a Forbes report mentioned. While the US-based California Institute of Technology is also on the path to following the same plan to deploy a $100 million space-based solar power test array by 2023.

    Why are so many counties working toward this space-based solar power plant concept? The reason is that a space-based power plant is closer to the Sun, hence it does not have to deal with the power attenuation caused by the atmosphere. Also, the Sun is always shining, so there is no scarcity of sunlight.

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    First Published Date: 10 Jun, 19:38 IST
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