Space-based Solar Power

Renewable energy is evermore on the forefront of the ongoing crisis to power our daily lives. Mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels as our primary source of power since the industrial revolution has created a society largely at the mercy of those who control these resources.

With technology developing at ever-faster speeds, new ideas and techniques are being employed to combat our dependence on these non-renewable sources of energy. One such company is SpaceWorks Commercial, a sub-division of SpaceWorks Engineering, Inc, based out of Atlanta, GA.

Presented by the president of the company, Mr. A. C. Charania, the panel progressed smoothly with a combination of a PowerPoint and video clips. Their plan of using space-based solar power has placed them amongst the forerunners of the renewable energy industry. Solar energy would be collected by arrays of solar panels, converted to microwaves, and then beamed to a collection grid on the surface of the Earth. The energy will then be converted into electrical power and distributed along the traditional energy grids to the end user.

Space solar power has been advocated for years by both the U.S. and international community as a potentially viable alternative energy option. However, the technical hurdles that have hindered progress in this area have been formidable. Ranging from financing to physical hardware limitations, research into solar power has been constantly hindered.

For SpaceWorks Commercial, the focus has been on creating a modular system which can be easily created, launched into orbit, and maintained with little or no human interaction. This would make it a far cheaper prospective than, as is currently the standard, to have astronauts place the solar collector into space and maintain it.

While there are still many hurdles to overcome, companies like SpaceWorks are the ones leading us ever closer to a severely pollution reduced, and less fossil fuel dependent, world.

Author of the article

After a lifetime of science fiction and fantasy influences, the last twenty of which have been spent in IT, Geoff Termorshuizen is applying for his Ph.D. in Strategic Security after finishing a B.A in Political Science and M.Sc.'s in Cyber Security and MIS. He currently works as a technical consultant for ACI Worldwide, supporting security and financial payment systems. You can find him at Con either at the the DailyDragon room, or via the EFF track where he has presented panels on digital forensics, privacy, cyberwar, surveillance and technology related politics.