Roles of Solar Power from Space for Europe - Space Exploration and Combinations with Terrestrial Solar Plant Concepts

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L. Summerer; T. Pipoli; A. Galvez; F. Ongaro; M. Vasile (2006), JBIS, 59, 297-303

Refcode: 2006.59.297
Keywords: Solar power, space, energy

Abstract:
The paper presents the prospective roles of SPS concepts for Europe, shows the outcome of recent studies undertaken by ESA's Advanced Concepts Team (ACT) together with European industry and research centres and gives insight into planned activities. The main focus is on the assessment of the principal validity and economic viability of solar power from space concepts in the light of advances in alternative sustainable, clean and potentially abundant solar-based terrestrial concepts. The paper takes into account expected changes in the European energy system (e.g. gradual introduction of hydrogen as energy vector). Special emphasis is given to the possibilities of integrating space and terrestrial solar plants. The relative geographic proximity of areas in North Africa with high average solar irradiation to the European energy consumer market puts Europe in a special position regarding the integration of space and terrestrial solar power concepts. The paper presents a method to optimise such an integration, taking into account different possible orbital constellations, terrestrial locations, plant number and sizes as well as consumer profiles and extends the scope from the European-only to a multi continental approach including the fast growing Chinese electricity market. The work intends to contribute to the discussion on long-term options for the European commitment to worldwide CO2 emission reduction. Cleaner electricity generation and environmentally neutral transport fuels (e.g. solar generated hydrogen) might be two major tools in reaching this goal.

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