- Sep 5, 2007
Beam down the solar power, Scotty!
Any discussion of alternative energy or emerging technology would seem incomplete without a mention of solar power. Whether the goal is to capture the thermal heat of the sun or to generate electricity from solar rays, solar power is an extremely intriguing prospect for those who would like to see fossil-fuels go away for good. But, solar power is not available at all times in all parts of the world, meaning that excess energy needs to be stored for use when the sun is not shining. But, what if the solar energy was captured before it even entered the earth's atmosphere? This is the idea that the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Osaka University have been working on. The goal is to collect solar energy and focus it on a plate of sintered powder of metals like chromium and neodymium. The energy is then to be beamed down to earth in the form of a laser where it would be collected and used. As you might guess, this technology is a ways off yet, and the scientists don't expect to have anything to show until the year 2030. That should give you plenty of time to practice your Dr. Evil impressions.