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Space Based Solar Collectors Constructed From Lunar Materials

[+] Author Affiliations
David A. Renfroe

Engineering Institute, LLC, Farmington, AR

Paper No. ES2008-54239, pp. 245-249; 5 pages
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the Heat Transfer, Fluids Engineering, and 3rd Energy Nanotechnology Conferences
  • ASME 2008 2nd International Conference on Energy Sustainability, Volume 1
  • Jacksonville, Florida, USA, August 10–14, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division and Solar Energy Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4319-2 | eISBN: 0-7918-3832-3
  • Copyright © 2008 by ASME


Although this is not a new idea, it certainly seems to be a forgotten idea; use lunar materials to construct solar power stations at a geosynchronous orbit to beam energy via microwave to the earth’s surface at a safe 225 watts per square meter. In the 1970’s Gerard O’Neill, physics professor at Princeton and founder of Space Studies Institute, proposed this idea (1). Significant research on the establishment of lunar based mining stations, lunar launch mechanisms, low earth orbit manufacturing stations, and geosynchronous power stations was conducted. Without developing new physics principles and with less capital than was being invested in the fusion technology, a clean solar based energy generation and delivery system was possible for any point in the world. The obvious benefit would be the elimination of carbon-based fuel consumption and associated pollution, and the not-so-obvious benefit of the elimination of the 2nd law thermal pollution from any earth based energy conversion to electricity. Heat rejection from all current electricity generating facilities: coal, gas, nuclear, geothermal, even solar, reject at least two thirds of the energy converted as waste heat. By moving the heat rejection process to the extra-terrestrial environs, the useful energy available for humanity for a given temperature rise in the atmosphere, triples at least. Thus, the life style of all of humanity can practically be increased without harm to the environment. This paper will give an overview of that technology, its history from the mid 1970’s till now, and why it has not been considered in the modern context of the new “hydrogen” based energy system.

Copyright © 2008 by ASME



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