Satellites will soon be able to beam electricity anywhere on Earth

A company has just demonstrated its wireless technology for sending solar energy collected in space back to Earth. The firm also plans to transmit all around the Globe the renewable energy collected on the ground, thanks to a constellation of satellites.

L’ESAESAthe European Space Agency, wishes to develop theenergyenergy solar in space. the Electric powerElectric power would then be sent to Earth, and would be available day and night. It is in this context that the New Zealand company Emrod demonstrated its wireless electricity transmission technology to ESA.

The current prototype uses antennas that measure 1.92 meters to transmit and receive power. The energy is transmitted in the form of electromagnetic waves in the ISM (industrial, scientific and medical) frequency bands, close to Wi-Fi. It is a beam directed between two points which allows little radiation to escape around. For their demonstration, the antennas were separated by a distance of 36 meters, but they have already done tests at more than 200 meters.

Presentation of wireless power transmission technology. (In English, turn on automatic translation of subtitles.) © Emrod

Transmit electricity by satellite

While Emrod’s transmission system could well be used to send space-collected energy to Earth, that’s not the company’s long-term vision. Its founder, Greg Kushnir, imagines instead a electrical networkelectrical network global wireless network transmitted by satellites orbitorbit low, 100 kilometers above sea level. At this height, the antennas should be 30 to 40 meters. With current technology, Greg Kushnir estimates he could achieve 60-70% efficiency, but by 2040-2050 he hopes to be closer to 80-85%, better than some wired networks.

Its aim is to completely decouple the production of renewable energies from their use. With a satellite system, it would become possible to install solar panels in the desertdesert and to send the electricity produced to the other side of the world. It would thus be possible to take advantage of solar power 24 hours a day, and isolated places could receive electricity without being connected to an electrical network. The company plans to begin commercializing its technology for backhaul by 2024.


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