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June 20, 2022

Chinese researchers test technology to transmit solar power from space

The power station model at Xidian University captures sunlight and converts it into microwave beams.

Researchers at Xidian University in China have trialled a technology that could one day wirelessly beam solar power from space to Earth, as reported by Bloomberg.

The power station model is designed to capture sunlight above the ground and convert it into microwave beams.

Microwave beams are then transmitted to a receiver station on the Earth, where they are again converted into electricity.

The research team has successfully conducted the test before a committee of outside experts, who verified its success.

At present, the power station model only has the capacity to send the energy 55m through the air.

The researchers hope that the transmission range can be further expanded in the future to beam the solar energy to Earth from solar panels orbiting the planet.

In 2013, researchers at the California Institute of Technology launched a space solar programme after receiving a $100m grant.

Researchers in India, Russia, the UK and France are also looking at possibilities for such technology, while Japanese researchers are said to be advanced in this area.

Although individual aspects of solar-from-space technology have already been tested, China is the first to test a full-scale model successfully.

This new technology is intended to help capture sunlight continuously from the sun during both the day and night.

This differentiates it from other clean energy technologies, which can only operate during daylight hours.

In March this year, the Chinese government unveiled plans to build 450GW worth of energy power projects in desert regions.

The government plans to build solar and wind power projects in the Gobi Desert and other desert locations.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has committed to increasing the country’s renewable energy capacity to at least 1.2GW by 2030, as well as ensuring its carbon emissions peak by the same year.

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