The Actionable Futurist: Panel session hosted at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers – Space Based Solar Power – a Futurist’s dream or a real option for net-zero?
With all of the recent discussions around net-zero, and surge pricing in the UK, energy is now front-page news.
We all accept that fossil fuel is not a sustainable form of energy, and renewable energy such as solar and wind have issues – when it is cloudy or calm.
To sustain the energy needs of a country like the UK or Australia, we need a “baseload” technology that can provide a sustained demand for power.
The UK chapter of The Institution of Engineers Australia teamed up with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers recently to look at a potential new form of energy – Space-Based Solar Power.
The concept is not new – it was first mooted by Isaac Asimov as science fiction in the 1940s, and in 1968, Dr Peter Glaser of Arthur D. Little introduced the concept using microwaves for power transmission from geosynchronous orbit to an Earth-based rectifying antenna (rectenna).
Since then, technology has advanced on several fronts to remove some of the technological and economic barriers to practical full-scale implementation.
On February 10, 2022, we attended a fascinating discussion between some of the world’s leading space and energy industry experts on this topic:
Martin Soltau Co-Chair Space Energy Initiative & Space Business Lead at Frazer-Nash Consultancy
Dr Alice Bunn CEO Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Sam Adlen Chief Strategy Officer, Satellite Applications Catapult
Ali Stickings Space Strategy lead at Fraser Nash Consultancy
We were also joined by Mark Garnier, MP for Wyre Forest, and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Space, and Chair of The Space Energy Initiative Advisory Board.