https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/98/Logo_Renewable_Energy_by_Melanie_Maecker-Tursun_V2_green.jpg

How Satellites will Bean Down Renewable Energy in the Future

Emrod is an Auckland, New Zealand-based company that has been in the wireless energy transfer business for over three years now. According to recent press release, the firm, in partnership with European Space Agency (ESA) and Airbus, has demonstrated its space-based solar power (SBSP) technology. The successful demo has bolstered the possibility of a global energy grid that could decouple where energy is generated and where it is consumed.

How does this technology work?

The technology is consists of a square phased-array transmitting and receiving antennae a little over six feet (1.92 m) in diameter. Using 5.8 GHz, Emrod demonstrated beaming an energy beam over a distance of 118 feet (36 m) and powered a model city, hydrogen electrolyzer, and a beer fridge. The demo was done at Airbus's Munich Area Site, as reported by New Atlas

Emrod uses a collimated beam with a phased array in this system, where its energy beam moves as if it were in a virtual wire. This approach has allowed Emrod to achieve an energy transfer efficiency of 95 percent and has plans to bring it to 99 percent.

Post the successful demo, the next action for Emrod is to scale its technology. The plan by the firm is to use near-field approach, vs far-field system, so that it can save the 20% of energy loss by the receiving antenna not being large enough.

How to use Satellites to make this work?

To build the wireless energy grid, both in space on the ground is an expensive proportion. Emrod wants to leverage the recent privatization of space, by the likes of SpaceX, Project Kuiper, Virgin Galactic and others and leverage the existing constellation of satellites. Once partnerships are inked, the firm plans to have the first of the test satellites in orbit within the next three years.  

For now, the company wants to continue testing its technology on the ground and plans to deploy it commercially as early as 2024. While this happens, it also hopes it can convince people that such energy transfers are possible, even though they do this every day with their phones.