It would convert solar energy from space with lasers and microwaves.

By Emily Pidgeon


Posted on December 4, 2019

China is planning to launch a solar power station in space to beam energy back to Earth within our lifetime.

The ambitious endeavour aims to cut down current fossil fuel consumption by capturing energy from thr sun that never makes it to the planet – and it could all take place as soon as 2035.

The energy would be converted into microwaves or lasers before being wirelessly beamed back to Earth for use, The China Academy of Space Technology researcher Wang Li claims.

“We hope to strengthen international cooperation and make scientific and technological breakthroughs so that humankind can achieve the dream of limitless clean energy at an early date,” Li explained according to Xinhau Net.

It is believed the nation will launch small- to medium-sized solar power projects by 2025 before launching its sizeable solar power station that can generate at least one megawatt of electricity, CNBC reported.

“If you can dramatically lower the cost of space solar, you can take over most of the energy market of the world,” National Space Society board of directors Mark Hopkins told CNBC.

A solar space station would be a momentous move by China as the nation is one of the largest global contributors of fossil fuels. At China’s peak coal production in 2011, it was producing more than 20,000 terawatts per hour (TWh), compared to India at 2,710 TWh.

While China is planning to launch its solar space station within the next 15 years, it is not an entirely new concept.

Science fiction author Isaac Asimov first wrote about the possibility of capturing power from space in 1941 in the short story ‘Reason’.

Harnessing solar power in space was explored by NASA years ago but following intense research, the US space centre abandoned the idea. However, space stations and satellites currently use solar panels for power.