Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Bloomberg has a report on a (long term) Japanese plan to build a space based solar power facility - Mitsubishi, IHI to Join $21 Bln Space Solar Project.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp. and IHI Corp. will join a 2 trillion yen ($21 billion) Japanese project intending to build a giant solar-power generator in space within three decades and beam electricity to earth.

A research group representing 16 companies, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., will spend four years developing technology to send electricity without cables in the form of microwaves, according to a statement on the trade ministry’s Web site today.

“It sounds like a science-fiction cartoon, but solar power generation in space may be a significant alternative energy source in the century ahead as fossil fuel disappears,” said Kensuke Kanekiyo, managing director of the Institute of Energy Economics, a government research body.

Japan is developing the technology for the 1-gigawatt solar station, fitted with four square kilometers of solar panels, and hopes to have it running in three decades, according to a 15- page background document prepared by the trade ministry in August. Being in space it will generate power from the sun regardless of weather conditions, unlike earth-based solar generators, according to the document. One gigawatt is enough to supply about 294,000 average Tokyo homes.

4 comments

I suspect Blofeld, based in his volcanic hidy hole in Japan is really behind this nefarious "solar powered" space weapon scheme.

Heh, heh.

That's almost certainly true...

I wonder what they are thinking. I mean actually thinking inside their closed office doors.

By the time this puppy could start sending down a gig of power (2030 they project) they will have to compete with mature wind that will be delivering power for less than $0.05 kWh, solar for even less, and cheap storage to fill in the 24/365 gaps.

(Not that there are gaps, just fluctuations.)

They have to get lift to orbit to 1/100th of today's cost. NASA predicts 1/2 by 2040.

They have to bring state of the art >40% efficient solar panel cost down from their $400+ per watt price.

Wind, solar, tidal, and most likely hot rock geothermal are going to be mature industries with very efficient manufacturing and well trained workers.

And they expect to break into this market how?

Well - the Japanese don't have quite as many options as others - but as SP noted, these things are partly a cover for military applications in space.

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