backtop


Print 94 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Sep 25 at 2:19 PM


An artist rendering of the potential orbiting solar plant. It would beam power to a massive lake-sized collector for optimal efficiency.   (Source: Kris Holland/Mafic Studios)

John C. Mankins, since leaving NASA, has spoken about his dream of space power both at various high profile news conferences. Now he has his biggest audience yet, with a historic proof-of-concept test airing on the Discovery channel.  (Source: Space Power Association)
New advances in power transmission would make Tesla proud

After decades of dormancy, interest in transmitting power wirelessly is finally heating up in the tech community.  Intel recently demoed its new wireless charging tech which it says could power its next generation chipsets.  Now, a former NASA researcher is revealing even grander plans to transform the business of power generation as we know it.

Funded by the Discovery Channel, John C. Mankins finished a four month experiment which began by collecting solar power, nothing out of the ordinary.  What happened next was relatively extraordinary, though -- he transmitted the power 92 miles (148 km) between two Hawaiian Islands. 

Terrestrial power transmission is only of interest to Mr. Mankins as a proof of concept.  Mr. Mankins' true plans are out of this world.  He envisions a network of 1,102 lb. (500 kg) satellites beaming solar power collected from panels back to Earth, satisfying all the world's power needs.

After working loyally for NASA for 25 years, he resigned after the solar program at the agency was terminated.  Now he's completed one of the more ambitious transmission experiments in history -- enough to make Nikola Tesla, the man who first envisioned wireless power transmission, proud.

The work still has a long way to go, though.  The transmission only successfully received one one-thousandth of the total power sent, a very low efficiency.  This was primarily because the receivers were so tiny.  Larger receivers, would still be rather inefficient, but could in theory, achieve much higher efficiencies.  Furthermore, the costs were relatively high at $1M USD, but Mr. Mankins believes the costs would decrease as the technology was scaled up.

In total each of the nine solar panels in the transmission assembly sent 2 watts of power.  They were originally equipped to send 20 watts, but the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration would only approve the lower power transmissions.

The encouraging results have reaffirmed Mr. Mankins' commitment to one day bring space-based solar power to the world.  His vision is that one day a fleet of satellites will beam power down to lake-sized receivers.  He enthuses, "The test was in no way fully successful, (but) I think it showed it is possible to transmit solar power quickly and affordably."

Mr. Mankins is president of ARTEMIS Innovation Management Solutions LLC, a startup which provides "strategic planning, technology assessment, and R&D management objectives" to government agencies.  He is also president of the Space Power Association.

The U.S. military is investigating similar plans to use satellite based solar power to beam power to troops on the battlefield.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: efficiency
By mindless1 on 9/16/2008 10:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
The great lie. No, we don't drive very inefficient cars because in relative terms you would have to have real examples of very efficient cars to contrast. It is never acceptible to claim some hypothetical ideal on paper to contrast reality, because in that sense there is nothing anywhere in our lives that is very efficient.

Cars are very efficient. It's all relative. Even the human body, the sun, anything you care to consider isn't "very efficient" if you only want to consider nonsensical notions of power loss because there will always be power loss so it's always a matter of context.


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

Did You Partake in "Black Friday/Thursday"?
Did You Partake in "Black Friday/Thursday"? 





0 Comments












botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki