The technology will be tested in 2025.
Japan is preparing technology that will allow it to “harvest” electricity from the Sun and send it to Earth. The technology was tested once in 2015, and in 2025 the first larger-scale test is expected, reports Engadget.
In 2015, scientists from the Japanese space agency JAXA managed to send 1.8 kilowatts of energy over 50 meters away. The small test proved the applicability of the technology, which Japanese scientists have been developing since 2009.
Over time, the project has grown into a public-private partnership, being developed by JAXA scientists, experts from universities and private companies. The test in 2025 envisages putting into orbit a group of small satellites. They will collect solar energy and send it to ground stations.
The satellites will convert the energy into microwaves. This makes it easy to transmit them over long distances and means they can be used 24/7 whether it’s cloudy or not.
The concept dates back to 1968. Several countries are trying to implement it, and so far Japan seems to be at the forefront. Even if the 2025 test is successful, it will only be the beginning of the technology becoming mainstream. Much more work will be needed to perfect the equipment, as it is currently very expensive: generating 1 gigawatt of electricity this way costs about $7 billion.
Photo by Bhupendra Singh: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photography-of-hand-during-sunset-760680/