So this is a snipet from a very cool article in one of the Wired blogs. I think my favorite part is where Paul Rancatore (former Congressman in Florida) says, "Don’t be focused on drilling down, focus on drilling up." Solar in space could be down right awesome!
The key to our energy future may be in space. A new long-range energy transmission experiment opens the possibility of sending solar energy from space to earth.
Former NASA executive and physicist John Mankins captured solar energy from a mountain top in Maui and beamed it 92 miles to the main island of Hawaii.
Tonight at 10 pm Discovery Channel will air an episode of Project Earth on the recent first-of-its-kind experiment. This long range demonstration of wireless power transmission was also a key step toward space-based solar power satellites. The team also beamed the power almost 100 times farther than NASA's major 1970's power transmission in the Mojave Desert in California.
Although the amount of power sent, 20 watts, is barely enough to power a small compact fluorescent light bulb, and most of it was lost in transmission, the system was limited by the budget not the physics. If they had been able to afford more solar panels, more phased array transmitters and a better receivers (the one they had could only receive in the horizontal direction), Mankins claims they could do much better-- possibly up to 64% efficiency.
[Read the rest over at Wired Magazine]