I was at the International Symposium on Solar Energy from Space this week in Toronto where scientists gathered to discuss the feasibility and challenges of establishing massive solar farms in space that beam energy back to Earth. For a quick overview of Day 1, you can read my story on the three-day conference in the Toronto Star. Anyway, one interesting thing I’ll point out is the live demonstration of power being transmitted across a 10-metre open space. Now, it wasn’t a lot of power, but it was enough to light up a cluster of red LED lights and to move a motorized object on wheels. The demonstration team was from Kobe University in Japan, and they were led by vice-dean of graduate engineering Nobuyuki Kaya. It was a neat demo, and all I can say — not being an engineer who lives and breathes this stuff — is that scientists in the room were impressed. Now, all they have to do is scale it up to 1 gigawatt of power travelling 36,000 kilometres via a 1o-kilometre wide beam that doesn’t fry birds or knock down planes. 🙂
Challenges aside, it was pretty cool to watch.