Solar Wind Power

Posted: September 27, 2010 in Uncategorized
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You may have heard of Inherit The Wind, or even A Mighty Wind, but this is a little different. It’s a mighty solar wind and it could be used to meet the world’s energy needs 100 billion times over.

Is it a dream?  Of course, but there is some science behind it.

A relatively small Dyson-Harrop satellite using a 1-centimetre-wide copper wire 300 metres long, a receiver 2 metres wide and a sail 10 metres in diameter, sitting at roughly the same distance from the sun as the Earth, could generate 1.7 megawatts of power – enough for about 1000 family homes in the US.

A satellite with the same-sized receiver at the same distance from the sun but with a 1-kilometre-long wire and a sail 8400 kilometres wide could generate roughly 1 billion billion gigawatts (1027 watts) of power, “which is actually 100 billion times the power humanity currently requires”, says researcher Brooks Harrop, a physicist at Washington State University in Pullman who designed the satellite.

Makes the flux capacitor’s 1.21 gigawatts seem modest by comparison.

There are a few issues to be worked out, such as building a Dyson-Harrop satellite (sphere, swarm, shell, bubble, or even net), placing it on orbit, and having the beam-focusing technologies to allow the space-to-earth energy transfer.

The best description of how it works, including advantages and disadvantages is here.

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