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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
MaineDog BS: A Solar Grand Plan in Scientific America (36) RE: BS: A Solar Grand Plan in Scientific America 02 Mar 08

An interesting scheme we used to think about was this one.
We build our solar arrays in orbit around the earth. Since they are weightless there, they don't need a lot of structure to keep them together, and they can be really huge, so we don't have to worry about efficiency. Even if they are only 5% efficient, it doesn't matter, since all that 95% of waste heat stays out in space, and doesn't come to earth at all, so there is no potential for "greenhouse" problems. What does come to earth is pure energy in the form of coherent microwave beams, which are directed at appropriate receiving stations all over the earch, so we don't need any grid backbone except for outages. The frequency of the microwave radiation can be chosen to penetrate normal weather, so we won't have rainy day problems. Since the power satellites are high up and spread out around the earth there is no microwave night. the Converting the microwave energy to AC for our tv sets is a lot more efficient than running a heat engine (turbine or diesel) because it is already electrical and cohereht.

Of course, in today's technophobic society, microwaves are almost as bad as lard, so I don't expect to see people backing this system any time soon.

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