China and Britain clash in race to launch first space POWER PLANT | Science | New

In the middle of a world energy crisis that has caused sky-high bills for citizens around the world, governments are scrambling to find alternative methods of powering homes and industries. Now, China created a model power plant at Xidian University in Shaanxi to capture sunlight above ground. The captured sunlight is then converted into microwave beams, transmitted over the air to a receiving station on the ground, to be converted back into electricity.

While Beijing may be hoping this model can one day perform this function from space, currently the model only sends the energy 55 meters into the air.

The University conducted a test in front of a panel of outside experts, who verified the success of the test on June 5.

But China is not the only country to move forward on this type of project.

The Space Energy Initiative (SEI) is the UK’s exciting new project which could see Britain have the first power station in space by 2035.

It will consist of satellites with lightweight solar panels and a system of mirrors to focus sunlight onto the panels, generating around 3.4 GW of electricity on the satellite.

And by the mid-2040s, the power generated by the space station could reach 30 GW, which would represent up to 30% of the UK’s electricity demand.

While China appears to have already tested its model, Tory MP Mark Garnier says the UK still has an opportunity to get “one step ahead”.

Mr. Garnier, who is also chairman of the SEI advisory board, said“Where we are ahead of the game is that what we offer is something that is much more commercially oriented.

“The (space programs) of China and Russia are generally run by the government.

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“What we offer is essentially commercial space. So that’s what somebody like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos and those kind of people (did).

Martin Soltau, Space Business Partner, Frazer-Nash Consultancy, Space Energy Initiative Co-Chair, said“Once in operation, the high efficiency, low cost of electricity and its favorable characteristics providing both baseload and flexible generation, will make SBSP a highly profitable source of revenue for utility companies. exploitation, and offering the potential for a healthy return to investors, including the government.

“At least 143,000 job-years will be supported by a UK-based SBSP system, the equivalent of 5,700 high-value jobs over a 25-year period.”

The UK and China aren’t the only countries looking to harness the power of the sun from space, either.

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After receiving a $100m (£81m) grant, researchers at the California Institute of Technology have also launched a similar space solar program.

India, Russia, France and Japan are also exploring opportunities in this area.

But according to Xidian, the Chinese researchers are the first to successfully test a complete system model.

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