Published on July 11th, 2011 | by Susan Kraemer12
Japan’s Shimizu Proposes a Loony Solar Idea
July 11th, 2011 by Susan Kraemer
Taking space-based solar one rather giant leap further, Japan’s respected construction giant Shimizu is recommending that Earthlings build a huge moon-based solar plant to power the entire world from a Lunar Ring.
The idea behind Shimizu’s lunar solar belt would be to build an array of solar modules extending like a belt around the 11,000 kilometer equator. Using robots (because they don’t need to breathe), solar modules would be constructed in situ, on the moon, using lunar material resources which Shimizu claims would be adequate for the task.
Cables would transfer power from the modules, to transmission facilities which would beam them via microwave to gigantic receivers in the desert or the ocean located at points around the world within proximity to major population areas, so that power could be continuously sent by laser beam to some point on the planet during the Earth’s daily rotations. (The lasers would be imports from Earth)
The plan would create enough energy to power the entire planet, according to Shimizu, one of Japan’s top three contracting firms, but the company, one of Japan’s top three construction firms, with expertise in airports and bridges, strangely quantifies the estimated electricity production as an estimated “17 billion “tons” of oil-equivalent energy, making it a little difficult to assess.
With enough funding, Shimizu says by 2035 robots could exploit the lunar surface to extract the materials to build the solar cells, concrete and other materials needed to build the project. By adding just hydrogen imports from Earth, for example, water could be produced, apparently.
It’s a very high stakes/high investment/high payoff plan, completely understandable in view of Japan’s now even more precarious energy situation, which if it worked, would be a thrillingly futuristic new energy source that would fully make up for my lack of a jetpack, to date.
The video: Shimizu Lunar Belt
Susan Kraemer @Twitter
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