Japanese plan space-based solar power

Tom James @ 03-09-2009

714px-Space_solar_powerThe Japanese government has taken another step towards actually building a space based solar power plant. Mitsubishi Electric Corp and industrial design company IHI Corp are to develop a design for a SBSP plant to be up and running at some point in the next three decades:

By 2015, the Japanese government hopes to test a small satellite decked out with solar panels that beams power through space and back to Earth.

There are still a number of hurdles to work through before space-based solar power becomes a reality though. Transportation of the solar panels into space is too expensive at the moment to be commercially viable, so Japan has to figure out a way to lower costs. Even if costs are lowered, solar stations will have to worry about damage from micrometeoroids and other flying objects. Still, space-based solar operates perfectly under all weather conditions, unlike Earth-based panels that are at the mercy of the clouds.

It makes sense to start moving in this direction, but will practical implementation arrive fast enough to help reduce global warming emissions?

[from Inhabitat, via Slashdot][image from Wikimedia]


Personal nuclear generator

Tobias Buckell @ 18-12-2007

Toshiba has announced a 200 kilowatt nuclear generator that can power a small block or large apartment building. At 20*6 feet large it can fit in a basement.

It’s designed, like pebble bed reactors, to not need mechanical parts to keep it safe.

This is a potentially disruptive piece of engineering. For one, it decentralizes power generation. It will allow power generation to be installed in remote locations throughout the world.

[link via Jay Lake]