China Mulls Solar Power Station in Space

China Mulls Solar Power Station in SpaceChina Mulls Solar Power Station in Space

Chinese scientists are considering the construction of a solar power station 36,000km above ground. If realized, it will surpass the scale of the Apollo project and the International Space Station, and will be the largest-ever space project.

The station would be a super spacecraft equipped with huge solar panels. The electricity generated would be converted to microwaves or lasers and transmitted to a collector on Earth, Space Daily reported. Space-based solar panels can generate 10 times as much electricity as ground-based panels per unit area, says Duan Baoyan, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE). "If we have space solar power technology, hopefully we could solve the energy crisis on Earth."

The world has recognized the need to replace fossil fuels with clean energies. However, the ground-based solar, wind, water and other renewable energy sources are too limited in volume and unstable. "The world will panic when the fossil fuels can no longer sustain human development. We must acquire space solar power technology before then," according to Wang Xiji, a scholar at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). "Whoever obtains the technology first could occupy the future energy market. So it's of great strategic significance," Wang says.

Countries such as the US and Japan have studied a space solar power station. Japan is leading in the development of wireless power transmission technology.