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Solar Pumped IR Laser Energy

SPACESOLAR
Sunlight focused on bandgap matched thin disk laser wafers generate 560 intense and well dened beams of infrared laser energy that deliver 20 megawatts of electrical energy each at 560 receivers anywhere on Earth visible to the satellite. The image shown here indicates the service area of a satellite placed at Geosynchronous Equatorial Orbit hovering at 35 degrees West Longitude. Energy buyers anwhere in this picture are potential customers for the power generated by the solar generator on orbit.

Compact Optics and Receivers IR Laser Beams are Key


By William Mook

The Rayliegh Criterion tells us that the size of the waves in a beam of energy determines the size of optics needed to transmit energy a given distance reliably and efciently. In the past, only microwaves were considered efcient enough to beam energy effectively from an orbiting solar power satellite. Since microwaves are measured in centimeters, and they must send energy over 30,000 km to Earth, a solar power satellite with a transmitting antenna hundreds of kilometers in diameter was thought to be needed. Satellites on this scale are impractical to build today. But what if energy were beamed efciently with shorter waves? Thats precisely what I asked when I looked at recent developments in thin disk laser technology.

Thin disk lasers are over 80% efcient in taking band gap matched light and converting it to laser energy. This means that a stack of thin disk lasers that use my patented spectral matching process (US Pat. No. 7,081,584) converts over 55% of incident solar energy to usable electricity on the ground. With wavelengths measured on the nano-meter scale this means that emitters on orbit only meters across combined with recevers on the ground only meters across can be used to set up reliable, efcient power links across the visible face of the Earth. Five Hundred and Sixty Buyers of 20 MW receivers anywhere in the 780 mm Diam 20 MW Receiver region above pays for the development and deployment of a power satellite lasting 25 years.