The People’s Republic of China tap the universe as an energy supplier, the metropolis of Chongqing currently serves as a base camp for such research.
This is where the first experimental solar power plant is being built that will not have its home on earth. For 2050, even a gigawatt plant is already planned.
The goal: to achieve the performance of a nuclear power plant
The Chinese scientist Pang Zhihao, who works at the China Academy of Space Technology, is already looking forward to the “inexhaustible source of clean energy.” In space, there will never be night and there are no seasons that put a damper on electricity production. Also, the energy could be used not only for electric cars, server equipment and factories, but also directly for space missions.
1000 tons of construction material per space power plant
However, about 1000 tons of building materials are needed to build a single power plant, so Pang and his team are now pursuing the idea of using near-Earth asteroids for mining. Maybe robots and 3-D printers help with the speedy installation. In addition, considerations are being made to promote the construction of solar collectors to the moon in order to be able to fall back on the resources available locally.
On the way there may be some surprises
Of course, space solar power plants also need regular maintenance and because of the adverse conditions, they do not last as long as they do on Earth. At the same time, there must be a whole network of huge energy reception systems on earth to absorb all power and not endanger humans or animals. Nobody has ever tested anything, so there may be a few surprises on the way. After all, the reception systems would take up less space than terrestrial solar systems, which bring a comparable performance.