Friday, July 19, 2024

‘Innovative Solution for Renewable Energy: Giant Mirrors in Space’

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The European Space Agency (ESA) is exploring a groundbreaking plan to use giant mirrors in space to reflect sunlight onto solar farms on Earth as part of its Solaris initiative. This innovative concept, known as direct sun reflection (DSR), involves bouncing sunlight back to Earth at dawn and dusk, effectively adding two hours of bright sunshine to boost solar farm output by 60%.

The proposal, developed by the Brussels-based company Arthur D. Little (ADL), suggests placing 4,000 mirrors in space to direct sunlight onto 30 large solar farms. ESA has selected this concept as one of two ideas being explored under the Solaris initiative, which aims to harness solar power from space.

Dr. Sanjay Vijendran, ESA’s lead for Solaris, expressed optimism about the technology’s potential to deliver energy from space. ADL aims to launch the first proof-of-concept mirror into orbit in 2025, with commercial operations set to begin in 2033, and a full suite of mirrors operational by 2043. Each mirror, about 1km in diameter, could provide energy equivalent to peak daylight at noon.

Arnaud Siraudin, head of ADL’s technology and innovation practice, highlighted the inefficiencies of solar power on Earth due to sunlight limitations. By leveraging DSR, ADL aims to maximize the investments in solar farms and deliver clean energy efficiently.

The UK government, alongside ESA, is also invested in space-based solar power projects, emphasizing the transformative potential of this technology. Amanda Solloway, the minister for affordability and skills, underscored the significance of space solar in the energy mix, ensuring a secure energy supply for the future.

This space-based energy approach represents an exciting frontier in renewable energy, with the promise of transforming power supplies globally. As advancements continue and collaborations expand, the future of solar power from space looks bright and full of possibilities.

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