Japanese scientists from the JAXA research center succeeded in transmitting energy wirelessly over a distance of 55 meters. According to the researchers, this is the first step towards obtaining solar energy from space for its use on Earth.
But so far, we are talking about the successful transfer of only 1.8 kilowatts of energy (just right to start an electric kettle) by means of microwaves and a highly directional transmitter.
The developers note that using the space energy of the Sun as a power source, in comparison with solar energy from the Earth's atmosphere, is very beneficial: it is always available in the right amount, regardless of weather conditions and time of day.
Space solar power has long been successfully used on the ISS. But the idea of supplying this inexhaustible energy from outer space to our planet for a long time was perceived as something from the category of science fiction.
The Japanese propose to receive the energy of the star through microwave transmitting satellites located 36, 000 km from Earth and equipped with panels and antennas to collect solar energy. However, in theory, everything is simpler than in practice. Implementing technology into reality may take decades, 30 years, or even more. In the meantime, we need to figure out how to send such massive structures into space, how to mount and maintain them in working order.
Development in this direction was carried out by American researchers in the 1960s, and the Japanese Ministry of Industry began to sponsor local developments in 2009. First of all, the Japanese are concerned about resolving the problem of energy shortages in their country, because fuel imports to Japan are reaching huge volumes, especially since the use of nuclear energy stopped after the Fukushima disaster in 2011.