Solaren Corp to supply California with space-based solar power

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by edesignuk, Apr 15, 2009.

  1. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #1
    Engadget.

    Wow. If it works, freakin awesome.
     
  2. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #2
    i don't see why that should be better than having solar panels on the ground. i can't imagine that the extra effort of getting it into space and the loss during conversion to microwave is offset by the higher amount of sunlight.

    anyway, once that beam is off by just a bit half of sun diego gets boiled.......
     
  3. Tilpots macrumors 601

    Tilpots

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    #3
    A several mile wide satellite surviving in space? Seems unlikely... Love the idea, though.
     
  4. Rodimus Prime macrumors G4

    Rodimus Prime

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    #4
    I have to ask.

    What happens if the satilights gets slight off. That is an insane amount of energy to beam down at a small amount area. How would it be shut down.

    what is the catch. One is moving a lot of heat energy from the space down to earth. How does that effect the environment. What happens if a plane flies though it. What happens to wild life that flies throw it.

    There is a trade off for doing this. I just want to know what the trade off is.
     
  5. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

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    #5
    A similar premise was featured in the short story Reason by Isaac Asimov (part of the I, Robot collection).

    Rodimus, I agree. This seems like a beautiful way to get clean power in theory, but it doesn't seem like all the practical nitty-gritties have been thought out.
     
  6. bartelby macrumors Core

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    #6
    Sounds more like a death ray to me.

    And Solaren sounds like a Dr Who baddie...

    :eek:
     
  7. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816

    CorvusCamenarum

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    #7
    If you ever played SimCity 2000, you'd already know the answer. ;)
     
  8. cube macrumors G5

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    #8
    This is an old concept, with that microwave link scary bit.
     
  9. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #9
    Satellites have attitude control systems that make small adjustments to each characteristic of their movement. As for shutting down, it should be able to do that itself, but a ground link would allow for that too.
     
  10. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
  11. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    #11
    I was thinking the EXACT same thing!:D

    Imagine that.... here something to remember those good ol' days
     

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  12. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

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    Canada, eh?
  13. ChrisA macrumors G4

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    #13
    What happens if a bird lands on a high voltage wire? Nothing really. A more relevant question is "what happens if you walk outdoors and your skin is exposed to sunlight? What they are proposing is very powerful but still much less harmful than sunlight. So what happens if an airplane or bird flies in sunlight?

    The critical question to ask is not the total amount of power sent down but the "power density". How does this density compare with the natural solar irradiation? Is it 1,000 times more or only 0.1% more?

    The designs I've seen in the past would use a miles square station on Earth. The station would be mostly just wires strung above the ground. One mile has more than 25,000,000 square feet. If 25 megawatt satilite where send to a 1 mile square station the density would be one watt per square foot. or about 5X then the natural solar irradiation.

    It could work and be safe but I just can't imagine the economics could work. Why not just lay out solar cells on the same one square mile? They must be looking for government funding as it could never pay its own way.


    What is "safe"? If you go outdoors on a sunny day the sun itself is so powerful that it will burn your skin in just a few hours and in time give you cancer. Could you imagine even asking for a permit to build something like that?
     
  14. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #14
    There has to be an awesome efficiency trade to support the billions of dollars it would take to launch something like this. That's why I'm so interested in the numbers behind it.
     
  15. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #15
    yeah, you're right! i love that story. robots that converted but worked perfect. i liked the ending where they decided not to tell the next shift what's going on:p
     
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #16
    This would work in the US, but only if they did this in a place that was flat, and completely devoid of human life, like sections of Idaho, Arizona, both Dakotas, and all of Florida.
     
  17. edesignuk thread starter Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    #17
    I watched a programme on Discovery about this. The amount of extra energy you can get from the sun when our atmosphere isn't getting in the way is quite astounding. There was also this flexible lens that can be placed over the solar cell that increased power generated by a factor of 8!
     
  18. John Jacob macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

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    #18
    Huh? :eek: Or should I be :D?

    Actually, I think it would work best if they did it on a large (say 1 mile x 1 mile) floating platform several miles out into the ocean, that's anchored into place. Something like a mid-sea oil rig, but bigger and flatter.
     
  19. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    I think the question on everyone's minds is, "How are they going to get the frickin sharks into space?"
     
  20. No1451 macrumors 6502

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    #20
    By taping them to the shuttle obviously, let their natural awesomeness do the rest.

    As for WHY space, the atmosphere filters out a lot of stuff and really dilutes what eventually hits the ground. Shouldn't be too hard keeping stuff out of the beam, there are no fly zones all over the place, put it in a remote place and disallow flights through the area if it's such a big problem.


    This reminds me though of the FUD that was discussed in the book Colony by Ben Bova. Old book, from the late 70's I believe(making it one of the only good things to come out of the 70's:p) and there was discussion about people swarming power-sat collection stations, fearing that the microwaves were making them all sterile and killing them.
     

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