The dream of tapping the limitless solar energy from space and transporting it back to earth could soon become a reality. Japan is one step closer to beaming solar power from space. Mitsubishi has made a breakthrough in sending energy wirelessly.
1.8 kw of power was first converted into microwaves and was sent through the air to a receiver which was kept 55 meters away. The power was enough to power an electric kettle. It is a small step which will one day help tap vast solar energy available in space.
The concept is not new but it is for the first time that scientists have been able to convert electrons into microwave and sent it across air before receiving it and converting it back into power with a high degree of accuracy.
Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) who is pioneering this venture hopes to have sunlight-gathering panels and antennae set up about 22,300 miles (36,000km) from the Earth.
The latest success by Japanese scientists could pave the way for space-based solar power systems.
The experiment was carried out by Mitsubishi scientists who were able to deliver 1.8 kilowatt of power with pinpoint accuracy to a receiver kept 170 feet away. The distance is relatively modest but the technology could one day lead to development of a process which will allow humans to tap the vast amount of solar energy available in space and use it here on Earth.
A spokesman for the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (Jaxa) said, “This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device.”
The test took place at the Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works in Nagoya, Japan and it will finally pave way for the start of Jaxa’s long-awaited space solar power system.