One of the most basic requirements of human life is energy. We need energy for doing our most basic task to rocket science. Energy means the capacity to do work. Like a fan, we need electric energy; for doing work, we also need energy, which we get from food. It may sound like imagination, but to fulfill the energy requirement of the whole earth, scientists are planning to set up solar power stations in space. Basically, there were two types of energy, Non- renewable and Renewable.
Non Renewable energy is the energy that is present in the environment. But it will soon run out due to its excessive use—for example, fossil fuel such as coal, gas, and oil.
Oil, coal, petroleum, and natural gas are the main source. They might be non-renewable, but it takes almost 1000 years for them to get renewed.
About 40% of the energy requirement of the world is completed by oil. In which the US alone uses 24% per year. If we consider worldwide, 85% of energy comes from a non-renewable source. India’s 64% of energy requirement is fulfilled by non-renewable source. As a result, we can see that they will be get depleted very soon. Apart from these factors, they are also very harmful to the environment. They were the main cause of global warming and pollution.
Renewable energy is derived from natural resource and replenish themselves over a concise period of time. It is present in abundant quantity, and it does not have any harmful effect on the environment. For example, solar energy from the sun, wind energy from the air, and hydro energy from rivers.
The solar power station in space
Solar energy is considered an important source of renewable energy. To meet the energy requirement, scientists are planning to set up solar power stations in space. It may sound like imagination, but it can fulfill the energy requirement of the whole earth. Great scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky first gave this concept in the 1920s. He was a rocket scientist and pioneer of the astronautic theory. Tsiolkovsky was the first to state the correct theory of rocket power.
The European Space Agency studied the concept. Now they are looking for funds to start the project. They predicted it as the first industrial resource which we will get from space. At present, the greatest challenge for the whole world is climate change. The rise in global temperature is the main reason for climate change.
To solve the issue, we need some substitute in which we can use the energy without increasing the earth’s temperature. In recent years renewable energy has seen a huge development in which efficiency is improved, and costs have been reduced. But there is one problem that they do not provide a constant source of energy. We will get wind energy when the wind is blowing. Similarly, we get solar energy most on a sunny day. But we need electricity 24/7. So there is a requirement for a source that provides constant energy on a large scale.
The solution is to generate energy from space. A solar power station receives sunlight 24 hours a day. In addition to that, the earth will also receive and reflect some sunlight. These will provide more sunlight to the solar cell, which will ultimately produce more energy.
One of the major problems is to assemble, launch, and send such a large structure to space. The area of a single station is around 10 km square, which will be equivalent to around 1400 football fields. The cost will be very high.
Another challenge is to transmit the power back to the earth, which will be produced in space.
One idea is to develop a group of 1000s of smaller satellites that will go together and will assemble to form a single, large solar generator. The University of Liverpool has developed a technique to print ultralight solar cells. It is a foldable, lightweight, and highly reflective membrane capable of harnessing the effect of the Sun’s radiation pressure to move forward without the fuel.
Researchers in China have designed an Omega system, which they will start by 2050. It will have a capacity of supplying 2GW of power to Earth at high performance, which is a tremendous amount. To produce such a large amount of solar energy, more than 6 million of them are required.
We can see that the non-renewable source of energy has almost come to an end. So there is a requirement to develop a renewable source. But there is a problem that they can’t fulfill all the energy needs.
So scientist is trying to produce energy from space through solar power stations. This will fulfill all the requirements, and it does not have any adverse effect on the environment.