Space Solar Power
SSP (Space Solar Power) is a simple concept -  collect solar energy in space, convert the solar energy to electricity, and beam the power down to the planet for consumption. Such a system would provide clean, reliable, and unending power to our planet. A system of this nature would consist of three basic components:
 
1) A solar collector in space
2) RF generator/transmitter attached to the solar collector complex
3) A ground station to receive

The concept of generating solar power in space and transporting it back to earth's surface a concept that was first proposed in the 1970's, and then reexamined by NASA in the mid-1990's. The primary reasons for not seeing this idea through are financial, however costs of the proposed system significantly decreased from 1970 to the mid 1990's.

A system of this nature has obvious financial and technical obstacles to overcome and be worked out, however the consequence of not acting on this theory
(ie: global warming, power shortages, dependency on foreign oil) could far outweigh the action of doing nothing.

1) More solar energy can be collected outside of the atmosphere, where the average intensity of sunshine is 8 times of that on the surface (Scientific American -    
    September 2006 issue)
2) Space offers an endless amount of real estate to construct solar collection units - here on earth, our available space is limited.
3) The solar energy would always be available, since it would be collected outside of the earth's atmosphere. Even when beaming back to the surface through cloud
    cover, the system could operate at 90% efficiency. (Scientific American - September 2006 issue)
4) Our planets demand for electrical power is expected to possibly double in the first decades of the new century.
5) We NEED to take advantage of clean, renewable power sources so that we can start shutting down dirty fossil fuel and dangerous nuclear power plants
6) The Japanese Space Agency, JAXA, had plans to launch by 2010, a satellite capable of beaming back and receiving 100Kw back to earth, and by 2020 being
    capable of beaming back and receiving 250MW system. As with what I stated regarding Hot Dry Rock geothermal projects, it would be wise for the U.S. and
    NASA to also investigate this idea and make sure that we are a leader and not a follower in the use of this technology.
7) A functional system of this nature would lead to the commercialization of space travel, the development of efficient and feasible means of regularly traveling to
   space, and the creation of an entire new job market to support these systems.

More detail on what is presented above can be found at the following:
http://www.nss.org/settlement/ssp/index.htm
http://www.spacefuture.com/archive/a_fresh_look_at_space_solar_power_new_architectures_concepts_and_technologies.shtml

The following is a brief summary of what is presented in the documents listed at the links above - I hope that this encourages you to read through the presentations.
·  The system would consist of a solar collector in space, RF generator/transmitter attached to the solar collector complex, and a ground station to receive and
   distribute the power into the terrestrial power grid.
·  Power would be beamed from space to the surface. EMI and biological effects of beaming power down to the surface have been addressed.
·  Much of the technology required to develop the ideas detailed in the links above already exists.
·  A concept called 'Sun Tower' would cost a total of 200 Billion dollars over its 40 year life time, and total revenue for that same period would be 1800 Billion dollars.
   The average power cost would be 2 cents/kWh-hr and average price would be 28 cents/KWH-hr. The total output capacity of the constellation upon completion 
   would be 3.5-4GW.
·  A concept called 'Solar Disk' would cost a total of 50-60 Billion dollars over its 40 year life time, and total revenue for that same period would be 250-270 Billion
   dollars. The average power cost would be 4 cents/KWH-hr and average price would be 21 cents/KWH-hr. The total output capacity of a system upon completion
   would be 30GW.

The following are hurdles that an effort like this would need to overcome. I have also read in more than one place that recent and pending technological advances would drastically help to overcome what is listed below.
·  Cost of research and development of the system
·  Current lack of feasible transportation to space
·  EMI (electro magnetic interference) as well as any potential of falling parts

To address any potential EMI concerns, I would suggest that we simply locate the terrestrial based receiving station at a point on earth that is virtually uninhabited - such as the arctic. From there, we would find the station in such a position that the radius extending out from our base station would allow for anything coming down from the orbiting solar power system to be beamed to or fall in an area were life is limited.

More to come on this topic as further information is gathered.

Calculated Circuit Specifications:
  Light draw: .5A
  Fan draw: .14
  Zener draw: 5mA
  Circuit max current (Imax) : .645A
  Assumed max voltage: 50vDC
Zener Diode Sizing:
  Zener diode V: 12vDC
  Zener diode p = (Imax x zener voltage)
  Zener diode p: (.645 x12) = 7.74 watts
Resistor Sizing:
  Voltage dropped on R (max source V � zener voltage) = 50 - 12 = 38v
  Resistor size = (voltage dropped / Imax) = 38v / .645 = 58.91 O
  Resistor power = (voltage dropped x Imax) = 38 x .645 = 24.51 watts

Actual Specifications #1:
  Light draw: .5A
  Zener draw: 5mA
  Circuit max current (Imax) : .505A
  Assumed max voltage: 50vDC
Zener Diode Sizing:
  Zener diode V: 13vDC
  Zener diode p = 50 watts
Resistor Sizing:
  Resistor size = 50 O (a 70 O, 25 watt resistor wouldn't light the light)
  Resistor power = 25 watt
Usage Results:
a) without battery and charge controller connected, generator produced ~30vDC, and at the light, it lit up at ~12vDC
b) with the battery and charge controller connected, and the battery not charged, at the light I only observed 5vDC. The filament glowed a little, but the light was  not illuminated
c) with battery not connected, zener diode heat sync was not even warm
d) with battery not connected, resistor heat sync was quote warm

Actual Specifications #2:
  Light draw: .5A
  Zener draw: 5mA
  Circuit max current (Imax) : .505A
  Assumed max voltage: 50vDC
Zener Diode Sizing:
  Zener diode V: 13vDC
  Zener diode p = 50 watts
Resistor Sizing:
  Resistor size = 20 O
  Resistor power = 8 watt
Usage Results:
a) without battery and charge controller connected, generator produced ~30vDC, and at the light, it lit up at ~12vDC
b) with the battery and charge controller connected, and the battery not charged, at the light I observed 12vDC and the light was fully illuminated
c) with battery not connected, zener diode heat sync was warm
d) with battery not connected, resistor was very hot
e) spinning the generator by hand moves the needle on a volt meter at the light - meaning using a 60vDC zener diode to protect the inverter will work
since current makes it past the zener diode when the source voltage is less than the zener voltage

Farm-4-Energy
Other Ideas

 

 


                                                                                                   Rooftop Wind Generator
Consider the thought that if every high rise building in each American City could generate even 10% of its own power. What would that mean to our nation - quite a noticeable relief to our overworked power grid would be a logical answer. Also consider the installation and maintenance jobs that this type of plan might lead to - another benefit of such a capability. Given the fact that most high rise buildings are hundreds of feet in the air, it would only make sense to erect wind generators on the top of each and take advantage of the existing structures that we have.

Obviously there wouldn't be room for the large commercial wind turbines that we are all used to seeing now days, but what about several smaller wind generators (~1Kw to 10Kw)? The cost to set these up would be minimal, but the return on investment to building owners and to the state of our nation and planet would be quite noticeable. Two or three of these generators (maybe even with a cage around the prop for those worried about blade or ice throws) would conceivably create a noticeable savings for both building owners and building tenants. Couple this with the theory of distributed wind generation where many smaller sized, low-cut in speed wind generators are placed appropriately around the countryside, and I think it is safe to say that a noticeable amount of electricity would be generated from these concepts.

In using knowledge gained over the past several years regarding wind power, and thinking about how wind generation would relate to rooftop and distributed generation, the following are benefits that I would be associated with these concepts:
·  No transmission line issues, since the construction of high capacity lines would be needed. In the city and at homes, power output could be tied directly into a
   building electrical system, and elsewhere in the countryside, existing 110KV lines could be used to carry the power to its destination.
·  No need to eliminate forest area to construct the generators.
·  The sum of many smaller parts (many low cut-in speed generators) would equal that generated by large power plants.
·  If even 10% of a cities power could be generated on rooftops, and if most major cities participated in this plan, we could quickly reduce some of this countries
   dependency on harmful and foreign energy sources. Add to this the possibility of distributed wind generation and home sized wind generators, we surely would
   see a relief on our existing power grid.
·  As previously mentioned, lower cut-in speed wind generators would be used, so locations that can not support large scale, higher cut-in generators could
   support these smaller sized generator.
·  In the country, we could possibly make use of many old silos as mounting structures for these smaller wind generators.
·  Community pride could be increased in a city or community where rooftop wind generators or distributed wind farms are present, since by supporting such an
   effort would lead to the opportunity to make a name for themselves as leaders in establishing new energy sources. 

As with every potential project of this nature, there are regulations and obstacles that must be worked through. The following are some that would need to considered with this proposal: 
·  Possible ice throws from the blades of generators on building tops.
·  Public concern for wildlife.
·  Conflict of roof rights - cell phone companies and other technological companies often maintain claims to roof space. 
·  Unsightliness/scenery conflicts - as mentioned elsewhere on this site, wind turbines are much more pleasant to look at than a nuclear stack, dirty emissions
   from coal and fossil fuels, foreign oil producers, and unprecedented weather patterns caused by global warming
·   Local zoning and City ordinances 
·  Building/structural integrity

As you can see, the virtually untapped wind related resources described above have a serious potential to contribute to our personal and national need to produce power by clean, local, and safe means.

For more information, requests, or if you would like to share information, please see the Contact Ian page
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