Soon a solar power plant in space? Japan gives itself 2 years to achieve this

Samir Rahmoun

June 02, 2023 at 12:43 p.m.


solar farm © © Kyoto University

© Kyoto University

In Japan, a crazy project may well take the issue of power generation to a whole new level. A spatial level, even!

In the XXIe century, new ways of producing energy were explored. Most often, when we think of these new technologies, it is nuclear fusion that is mentioned. But other spirits are thinking about capturing resources a little higher, above our heads.

In Japan, we think of space

Where to find the energy that would allow humanity to continue its technical progress without damaging its environment? For some, salvation could simply come from above. In any case, this is what is happening on the side of Japan. The newspaper Nikkei tells us that a public-private partnership has been set up to be able to send small satellites into space to capture the sun’s rays and then send the collected energy thousands of kilometers away.

It is the team of Naoki Shinohara, a professor at Kyoto University, who is leading this exceptional project, as much for its objective as for its launch date. Indeed, the researchers want to make their idea effective by… 2025! If the goal is very ambitious, the scientists surrounding Naoki Shinohara can claim some experience, since they have been developing the idea since 2009.

caltech solar panels space © © Caltech

Japan is not alone in thinking about this form of solar farm © Caltech

50 meters, the first distance

At first glance, the mission seems like science fiction. But if there are undeniable technical difficulties, Japan can boast of being at the forefront in the field. Indeed, the national aerospace agency, JAXA, has already succeeded in 2015 in transmitting 1.8 kilowatts of energy over a distance of 50 meters by microwave, enough to power an electric kettle.

With this mission, Japan hopes to be able to change the scale of this transmission technology. The Land of the Rising Sun is not alone in thinking about the possibility of using the sun’s rays in space as a source of energy. The United States, where the idea was born in 1968, is also building equipment at Caltech University that could perform this task. What if, in the future, we go from dream to reality?

Source : Engadget

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