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SOLAR POWER SATELLITE

K.Sushmitha P.Prathibha Sravanthi


II year EEE II year EEE
KSRM COLLLGE OF ENGG KSRM COLLLGE OF ENGG
Id no: 305376 Id no: 305348
Email:sushmitha.summi@gmail.com Email:prathibha.sravanthi@gmail.com
ABSTRACT are of different types for e.g. solar
Energy development is the on energy, wind energy, tidal energy,
going effort to provide abundant and geothermal energy etc. Now let us
accessible energy, through focus on solar energy as it is one of the
knowledge, skills and constructions. abundant forms of energy available.
For years humanity has dreamed of a Power
clean, inexhaustible energy source. "For the successful technology, reality
This dream has lead many people to must take precedence over public
do what, in retrospect, seems relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
obvious, and look upward toward Richard Feyman Energy. It has been
nature's "fusion reactor", the sun. The already said that the rationale for going
sun powers the biosphere, which is to into space, apart from the fact that the
say that the energy used by almost all human race must extend its limits and
plants and animals comes from the explore and then conquer space, has to
sun. So why not use solar energy to do with retrieving energy, mainly the
power industry, transportation, and Sun's energy. About 80 % of the total
the home as well? Promoted as early energy demanded by our society is
as 1968 by Peter Glaser, then a supplied from fossil fuels. 90% of the
NASA scientist, solar power satellites CO2 which is the major cause of the
can be built to convert direct solar greenhouse effect comes from
radiation received in the full, combustion. It is now widely accepted
unobstructed intensity possible in that the only way to reduce the
space to direct current (DC), environmental risks while sustaining
electrical power. Such collectors are the economic growth is to develop a
known as solar power satellites large-scale alternative energy system
(SPS). The solar energy collected by which is ecologically benign.
an SPS would be converted into A scientific venture must be
electricity, then into microwaves. The pursued when it follows certain logic
microwaves would be beamed to the and the solution is correct, even if
Earth's surface, where they would be technology for proper utilization is not
received and converted back into current or not available. Such is this
electricity by a large array of devices case. Although the human race would
known as a rectifying antenna, or perhaps not be able in the very
retina. immediate future to exploit the
Introduction untapped potential of solar energy, it is
Can you ever imagine life without certainly a direction that must be
lights, fans, cars, computers and followed. Exclusive dependence on
television or of fetching water from fossil fuels will inevitably lead to
the well and river? This is what life energy shortages. (see Introduction)
would have been like had man not It must be remembered that this
discovered the uses of energy both scheme was one of the main
renewable and nonrenewable determinants in choosing the location
resources. Nonrenewable resources of the space colony. The liberation
points along the Earth's path were A large-scale receiving antenna, retina,
chosen primarily for their constant is necessary to collect the microwave
exposure to sunshine Solar Energy power from space.
here on Earth Why should we go into The Atmosphere :
space to get solar energy and not The benign atmosphere protects us from
profit directly from it here on Earth? the intensity of the sun's rays, that are
The answer is twofold filtered by our gaseous cover. That same
protective effect which shields us and
Solar Power Satellites allows life on Earth also prevent us from
fully receiving the Sun's energy. It is
A possible scheme for estimated that, in average, between 0.1 and
0.2 kW/m2 of solar energy can be received
producing power on a large scale
from the Sun on the Earth's surface. In
contemplates placing giant solar near Earth space the quantity o energy that
modules alongside the colony where can be collected is approximately ten
energy generated from sunlight times as much, that is, around 1 to 2
would be converted to microwaves kW/m2 in average. This first reason is
and beamed to antennas on earth for obviously decisive.
recon version to electric power. On The Earth's rotation : But even if
ground, the microwave power is extra sensitive solar panels could be
rectified and converted to the engineered, there is another
commercial electric power. problematic factor that complicates full
utilization of the sun's energy. The
To produce as much power as rotation of the Earth, as we very well
five large nuclear power plants (1 know, gives rise to days and nights,
billion watts each) several square km which means that during 12 hours in
of solar collectors, weighing more average no sunlight hits the surface of
than 5 million kg would have to be our planet. Because of this, solar
assembled in the settlement. An energy devices have to trap the heat
earth-based antenna 5 miles in during the night period and great pains
diameter would be required for are taken to ensure that minimum heat
reception. These vast assemblies are gets lost. None of these problems will
often referred to as Solar Power be met in space, where sunshine is
Satellites (SPS) .The concept of the constant and with far greater intensity.
SPS is revolutionary with a high
potentiality to solve the global Generating electricity
environmental problems, as it uses
the limitless solar energy, it utilizes Apart from using the sun's energy to
the space outside of the earth ecology supply the Earth, the colonists would
system, and it has no by-product benefit from the abundance of energy
waste. The use of Even though one of for their own home processes.
its panels could never be deployed,
Skylab effectively demonstrated solar Solar energy can be directly converted
energy. into electricity by means of
photoelectric cells. These cells
produce an electrical voltage as long
as light shines on them .

The photoelectric effect consists in


the formation and liberation of
electrically charged particles in
matter when it is irradiated by light or
other electromagnetic radiation. The
term photoelectric effect designates
several types of related interactions.
In the external photoelectric effect,
electrons are liberated from the A satellite with solar panels to
surface of a metallic conductor by convert light energy into electricity can
absorbing energy from light shining be put into orbit. Indeed, most satellites
on the metal's surface. The effect is in orbit today are powered by solar
applied in the photoelectric cell, in panels. But how can we get the energy
which the electrons liberated from from the satellite back to earth? Clearly
one pole of the cell, the it would be impossible to use the
photocathode; migrate to the other electric lines we use for long-distance
pole, the anode, under the influence power transmission on earth. This is
of an electric field. where microwaves come in. The idea is
that a satellite be equipped with a
Solar power satellite concept microwave generator, so that the
electrical energy from the solar panels
The sun powers the biosphere, can be converted into a microwave
which is to say that the energy used beam. Then the microwave beam can
by almost all plants and animals be directed to antennas on the surface
comes from the sun. So why not use of the earth, which would convert the
solar energy to power industry, microwaves back to electrical energy.
transportation, and the home as well? The energy could then either be used at
Well, a principal difficulty with solar the site of the antenna or injected into
power is that the sun doesn't always the electric-power network.
shine on a particular location: half the
time the earth blocks the sun, and for
much of the remaining time clouds
and fog do. But what if the solar
energy were collected by a set of
satellites above the earth’s
atmosphere? Then we might obtain
solar power for 24 hours every day of
the year. This is the idea behind
solar-power satellites.
It was during the late 1960s that the
engineer Peter Glaser first had the
notion of solar power satellites. The
principle of transmitting power by
microwaves had already been
demonstrated, though not put into
practice. (Microwaves in practical
devices, such as radar systems and
long-distance telephone relays, were
used to convey information.)
To convey information, the intensity
of the received signal need only be
less than one nanowatt (one billionth
of a watt). Glaser’s idea was to put
the solar-power satellites in
geosynchronous orbits, so that each
would hover over a single location on
the earth. This meant, however, that for a very long time. There are also
the satellites had to be very high other concerns. One is that the
(36,000 kilometers or about 22,000
transmission down to the ground might
feet), and this in turn meant that the be interrupted by clouds and weather.
antenna on the satellite and the
Another is the safety of the people and
receiving antenna on the ground had animals near the receiving antennas
to be extremely large (a kilometer or who might be exposed to the
more in diameter). The idea did not microwave radiation. Today, the
seem practical, and after some initial viability of solar-power satellites as a
funding by the U.S Department of long-term solution to our energy needs
Energy and NASA there was little is being investigated by government
interest in pursuing the technology. agencies and individual companies in
Today, however, the situation many countries.
is changed because of the very large
Current Solar Power Satellite
number of Communications satellites
in low orbits. It might be possible to Designs
make these satellites dual purpose— Solar satellites of various shapes
solar-energy collectors as well as and sizes have been designed by
communications devices. Because of NASA, aerospace firms and
the much lower orbits, the antennas independent engineers since the 1960s.
on the satellites and on the ground They range in size from a hundred
need not be nearly so large. A meters to more than five kilometers in
drawback however, is that satellites diameter. Their basic components are
in low-earth orbit circle the earth (1.) solar cells to convert sunlight into
rapidly (about every 90 minutes) and electricity, (2.) a framework to hold the
therefore do not provide a connection
cells and their support equipment, day and night. They never pass into the
(3.) devices which will convert the Earth’s shadow. That’s important to
solar powered communications
satellites, and even more important to
solar satellites. This orbit will allow
solar satellites to send their electricity
down to a specific spot on Earth 24
hours a day for decades at a time.

Most of the components for


electricity into radio waves or laser these designs already exist, having
beams able to safely send the power been in production on other
down to Earth, and (4.) receiving commercial projects for decades. Also,
antennas on Earth to convert the plants and animals have been grown
beams back into electricity and feed it under the weak beams these solar
into standard power gridsv satellites will produce, with no physical
One solar satellite variation generates damage. Environmental protection is
electricity from an orbiting, high-tech not an issue, as we will explain later.
boiler and turbine system. The reason solar satellites haven’t been
Huge reflectors concentrate sunlight deployed isn’t a technology issue; its
on the boiler, and lasers or radio economics.
waves would transmit the energy to POWER GENERATION AND
receiving antennas on Earth. POWER LINE
Solar Cell: The following baseline data
used for Solar Cell Unit
is based on the current performance of
ground-use a-Si solar
cells and their possible evolution in the
near future. Further
detail of solar cells under test will be
presented.
Conversion Efficiency 15 %
Unit Weight 0.22 Kg/m2
Specific Power 950 Watt/kg
Thickness 0.2 mm
Solar satellites will orbit 22,300 miles Array Module: A subarray is composed
above the Earth, in the same orbit of 12 solar cell units.
used by today’s communications The array module, composed of 110
satellites. At that height it takes 24 subarrays, is a mechanical
hours for an object to circle the element for assembly. Each array
planet, so from the Earth’s surface module generates 180A at 1
the com satellites (or solar satellites) kV. The weight of the array module is
appear to stay directly overhead all 270 kg per each module.
Forty-five array modules are this case, the microwave power level is
assembled in each wing; northeast, much lower than in the case of the
southeast, northwest, and southwest. Reference System, and well below
Power Collection and Distribution: international safety standards.
The Wing Summing Bus collects the The beaming angle as large as 60
electric power from the array degrees of this case makes this
modules. requirement more important than in the
Each bus line has hot and return bus case of the Reference System.
cables. The bus lines are Spacetenna Design: Antenna
insulated copper plates 1 mm thick. characteristics are shown by
They get wider as they approach the Table 2.
center of the SPS2000 satellite to Table 2: Spacetenna Characteristics
keep the joule loss per surface area Electrical Characteristics
constant. The Wing Summing Bus Frequency 2.45GHz
Lines are connected to the Central Beam control Retrodirective
Bus Lines (322), which are interfaced Beam scanning
with the spacetenna system. The angle
Central Bus Lines are insulated +30 degrees (east-west)
copper plates 0.7 mm thick by 100 +16.7 degrees (north-south)
mm wide. The Bus Lines are Power distribution constant
mechanically attached to the truss Power density 574W/m2
pipes using insulated adapters. The Max. power density
power loss in the bus lines is 7 % in on ground
total. The total weight of the power 0.9mW/cm2
lines is approximately 11,000 kg. Input power to
Power Transmission System spacetenna
Power transmission from the satellite 16 MW
to a rectenna is made by 2.45 GHz Transmitting power 10 MW
microwave beam emitted from the Mechanical Characteristics
spacetenna, the antenna onboard the Shape and Dimension 132m x 132m
satellite, provided with retro directive square
beam control capability. Using the Mass 134.4 ton
principle similar to that of the U.S. Number of Array module 88
Reference System, electrical and Number of subarray 1936
mechanical design of this system is Number of antenna elements 2,547,776
simpler by employing a square shape units
and a single power level. Detailed Number of pilot receiver 7,744 units
design of the spacetenna will be Rectenna and Electricity Supply
shown. This makes the microwave “An antenna comprising a mesh of
beam broad, and results in relatively dipoles and diodes for
inefficient power transmission and an absorbing microwave energy from a
increase in microwave exposure transmitter and
outside the rectennas. However in
converting it into electric power.” such as a small-scale, low-cost system;
Microwaves are a full-size maximum-output system; a
received with about 85% efficiency system intended to be developed later
Around 5km across (3.1 miles). into a commercial system. At least one
SPS2000
nuclear. The rectennas will be huge, rectenna site will be used as an SPS
but the land underneath need not go operation research center. Rectennas
waste. Since the array absorbs the may deliver power into an existing
microwaves, but allows sunlight and grid, or operate independently.
Rectenna site conditions: To deliver
power for the maximum length of time,
rectennas will be at least 1200 km
apart.
Rectenna construction and operation
will have environmental
and economic impacts, which will need
to be analyzed for each site
Magic carpet
rainfall through, the land could be Material pegged to the ground
used for farming or ranching. Or, as 5,000 MW Receiving Station
in this case, the rectenna could be (Rectenna). This station is about a
built as a vast set of greenhouses, mile and a half long. Launch costs
feeding millions. Rectenna Without a doubt, the biggest problem
Technology: For SPS2000 two basic for the SPS concept is the currently
rectenna designs have been immense cost of all space launches.
considered to date, the high- Current rates on the Space Shuttle run
efficiency "wire mesh reflector" between $3,500 and $5,000 per pound
supported on a rigid frame above the ($8,000/kg and $11,000/kg), depending
ground, and the low-cost "magic on whose numbers are used. In either
carpet" which could be pegged to the case the concept of building a structure
ground. Power collection, some kilometers on a side is clearly out
conditioning and energy storage will of the question. Development of a
be provided according to customers' vehicle that can launch 100-ton loads at
requirement. Rectenna system: less than $400/kg is likely to be
SPS2000 rectenna systems may be necessary.
developed for different purposes,
Gerard O'Neill noted this problem in
the early 1970s, and came up with the
idea of building the SPS's in orbit
with materials from the Moon. The
costs of launch from the Moon are
about 100 times lower than from
Earth, due to the lower gravity.
However this concept only works if
the number of satellites to be built is
on the order of several hundred,
otherwise the cost of setting up the
producti
Solar Satellite Power Costs
on lines
Earth-built components for a single
in space
solar satellite will weigh from several
and
thousand tons to several hundred
mining
thousand tons, depending on the design
facilities
and power output needed. The largest
on the
versions could supply power to an
Moon
entire city, state or provine while the
are just
smaller versions could supply
as huge
individual factories with heavy
as
electrical needs, like aluminum
launching from Earth in the first
smelters. Communications satellites
place. However it appears that
weigh from a few hundred pounds to
O'Neill was more interested in
over ten tons. Launching them on
coming up with a justification for his
today’s unmanned rockets costs from
space habitat designs than any
$3,000 to $5,000 per pound (of
particular interest in the SPS concept
satellite). Manned launches cost ten
on its own.
times as much. Several start-up launch
More recently the SPS concept has
companies hope to drop the unmanned
been suggested as a use for a space
launch cost to $1,000 per pound during
elevator. The elevator would make
this decade, but that’s not nearly low
construction of an SPS considerably
enough
less expensive,
possibly making them competitive The cost of electricity in the U.S. varies
from region to region, depending on
with conventional sources. However
how it’s produced. Hydropower from
it appears unlikely that even recent
dams is commonly the cheapest and
advances in materials science,
namely carbon nanotube, can reduce
the price of construction of the
elevator enough in the short term.
nuclear is often the most expensive. uses about 1,000-2,000 kilowatt hours
The cost at the point of generation a month, and a city of 250,000 with
ranges from 4 cents to about 10 cents factories, stores, homes and streetlights
per kilowatt hour, which includes a might need as much as a billion
profit of less than one cent per kilowatt hours a month. Proposed solar
kilowatt hour. A few more cents are satellites will generate from a few
added to cover various taxes and the million to a few billion kilowatts each,
cost of transporting it over power depending on their size.
lines to where it’s needed. The cost Solar satellites will generate about one
of fuel for all other Earth-based kilowatt hour of electricity for each
power plants fluctuates widely over kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the satellite’s
the 30-40 year life of the plant. It can weight. A lot of this weight will be low
often exceed construction costs, and cost frames, but a lot will also be
the suspected environmental damage higher cost solar cells, electronics and
from carbon-based fuels is well guidance systems. If solar satellite
known. Nuclear fuel causes less components cost an average of $100
direct damage, but has higher per pound to manufacture and
environmental risks. Disposal costs (optimistically) $1000 per pound to
of depleted nuclear fuel and the costs carry to orbit, they’d have to sell their
of tearing down old nuclear plants are power for 30-50 cents per kilowatt
extremely high. hour to pay off these costs in 30 years.

That doesn’t include the cost of


launching the assembly and
maintenance crews into space at much
higher rates, and launching and
operating the living quarters for these
crews. Even if solar satellite assembly
robots were used, you’d need people in
orbit to maintain, repair and refuel the
The cost of fuel for all other robots. The launch costs and
Earth-based power plants fluctuates maintenance costs for these crews
widely over the 30-40 year life of the could add another $200 per pound to
plant. It can often exceed solar satellite costs over a 30-year
construction costs, and the suspected period.
environmental damage from carbon-
based fuels is well known. Nuclear Several innovative designs have been
fuel causes less direct damage, but proposed which unfurl sheets of solar
has higher environmental risks. cells like umbrellas after they’re
Disposal costs of depleted nuclear launched, then allow them to
fuel and the costs of tearing down old automatically connect themselves piece
nuclear plants are extremely high. by piece into huge structures in orbit.
An average U.S. home or apartment These designs will reduce - but
certainly not eliminate - the solar saddle back roof. The roof is formed by
satellite manpower needs. Some 20% solar panels and the spacetenna is built
of communications satellites fail in on the bottom plane to transmit
orbit because of electrical problems, microwaves to the ground. Of an SPS
fuel shortages or because their solar is 20 years and it delivers 5 giga watts
panels fail to open as planned, even to the grid, the Commercial value of
though this industry has 40 years of that power is 5,000,000,000 / 1000 =
experience behind it. 5,000,000 kilowatt hours, which
multiplied by $.05 per kWh gives
The “Space Island Space Hardware” $250,000 revenue per hour. $250,000 ×
section below will explain how we’ll 24 hours × 365 days × 20 years =
make it possible for solar satellites to $43,800,000,000.
be launched, assembled and operated In order to be competitive, the SPS
cheaply enough to profitably sell must surmount some
their power for ten cents per extremely formidable barriers. Either it
kilowatt-hour. must cost far less to deploy, or it must
operate for a very long period of time.
Many proponents have suggested that
the lifetime is effectively infinite, but
normal maintenance and replacement
due to meteorite impacts makes this
unlikely. A potentially useful concept
to contrast SPS with is the constructing
a ground-based solar power system that
generates an equivalent amount of
power. Such a system would require a
large solar array built in a well-sunlit
shape of the satellite looks like a
area, the Sahara Desert for instance.
However, an SPS also requires a large
ground structure -- the rectenna on the
ground is much larger than the area of
the solar panels in space. The ground-
only solar array would have
Unit Weight 0.22 Kg/m2
significant disadvantages as well. Night
time at a terrestrial solar
The World's First Prototype Solar
Power Satellite
Station reduces the average amount of
electricity produced by more than 50%,
since no power at all is generated
during the night and the Sun's angle is
low in the sky during much of the day.
Some form of energy storage would be
required continue providing power
through the night, such as pumped
storage hydroelectricity. This is both
expensive and inefficient. Weather
+16.7 degrees (north-south) conditions would also interfere greatly
Power distribution constant Power with power collection, and could prove
density 574W/m2 Max. power to cause much greater wear and tear on
density on ground 0.9mW/cm2 the solar collectors than the
Input power to space antenna environment of Earth orbit;
16 MW
Transmitting power 10 MW Asandstorm could cause devastating
Mechanical Characteristics damage, for example Beamed
Shape and Dimension 132m x 132m microwave power allows one to send
square the power to where it is needed, while a
Mass 134.4 ton solar generating station in the Sahara
Number of Array module 88 would primarily provide power to the
Number of subarray 1936 surrounding area where there is not
Number of antenna elements significant demand (Alternately, the
2,547,776 units power could be used on-site to produce
Number of pilot receiver 7,744 units chemical fuels for transportation and
Rectenna and Electricity Supply storage). Many advances in
“An antenna comprising a mesh of construction techniques that make the
dipoles and diodes for absorbing SPS concept more economical could
microwave energy from a transmitter make a groundbased system more
and converting it into electric power.” economical as well. For instance,
Microwaves are received with about many of the SPS plans are based on
85% efficiency Around 5km across building the framework with automated
(3.1 miles).The advantages of costing machinery supplied with raw materials,
considerably less to construct, and typically aluminum. Such a system
would require no significant could just as easily be used on Earth,
technological advances. However, no shipping required.
such a system has a number of However, it should be noted that Earth-
based construction already has access
to extremely cheap human labor that CONCLUSION
would not be available in space, so Global energy demand continues to
such construction techniques would grow along with world wide concerns
have to be extremely competitive. over fossil fuel pollution, the safety of
Current work nuclear power and waste, and the
NASDA (Japan's national space impact of carbon-burning fuels on
agency) has been researching in this global warming. As a result, space-
area steadily for the last few years. In based, solar power generation may
1990s, Japan research flew a small become an important source of energy
airplane powered by microwaves in the 21st Century. Possible power
beamed up from the ground. Indeed, generation of 5 to 10 gigawatts –“If the
because the island nation has no largest conceivable space power station
energy resources of its own, Japanese were built and operated 24 hours a day
officials have announced plans to all year round, it could produce the
have their first solar power satellite in equivalent output of ten 1 million
operation by the year 2040. WPT, kilowatt-class nuclear power stations.”
however, also has great potential for If microwave beams carrying power
non-terrestrial applications, including could be beamed uniformly over the
electrically propelled spaceships for earth they could power cell phones.
interplanetary (within Solar System) More reliable than ground based solar
as well as interstellar transport (at power. Today, however, the situation is
sunlight speeds) by providing beamed changed because of the very large
power for space propulsion systems, number of communications satellites in
such as those using space Sails In low orbits. It might be possible to make
2001 plans were announced to these satellites dual purpose—solar-
perform additional research and energy collectors as well as
prototyping by launching an Communications devices. Because of
experimental satellite of capacity the much lower orbits, the antennas on
between 10 kilowatts and 1 megawatt the satellites and on the ground need
of power In Japanese continued to not be nearly so large. Thus, the
study the idea of SPS throughout the viability of solar-power satellites as a
1980’s –1995 NASA began a Fresh long-term solution to our energy needs
Look Study Set up a research, is being investigated by government
technology, and investment schedule agencies and individual companies in
NASA Fresh Look Report many countries
SPS could be competitive with other
energy sources and deserves further
study Research aimed at an SPS
system of 250 MW Would cost
around $10 billion and take 20 years
National Research Council found the
research worthwhile but under funded
to achieve its goals