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Science Congress.

Solar winds being used to genrate power.


As we strive to find sources of alternative energy, a number of researchers
continue to look to what we consider the ultimate in renewable energy -- the
sun. However, on earth creating efficient solar panels remains a challenge.
While solar cells have been increasing in efficiency, and while new advances
are made in solar technology on earth, researchers have started to look for
harvesting solar energy a little bit closer to the source by harvesting energy
from the solar wind.
The solar wind is a stream of charged particles that heads outward from the
sun's upper atmosphere. They move outward toward Earth and the rest of the
planets, and provide the potential to power the entire Earth, according to
some researchers.Energy from the solar wind would be collected by a gigantic
sail deployed in space, between the sun and Earth.
One proposal has been offered by scientists at Washington State University.
The real challenge is how to get all that energy back to Earth in order to power
the planet. One idea is to use a concentrated laser beam to send the energy
back to Earth. Unfortunately, there would be millions of miles between
satellite and its earthly target, making it difficult for the laser beam to reach
the planet without widening and losing energy.
Advantages of Solar wind power.
The scientists say that whereas the entire energy generated from solar wind
will not be able to reach the planet for consumption as a lot of energy
generated by the satellite has to be pumped back to copper wire to create the
electron-harvesting magnetic field, yet the amount that reaches earth is more
than sufficient to fulfill the needs of entire human, irrespective of the
environment condition.
The scientists feel that if some of the practical issues are solved, Solar wind
power will generate the amount of power that no one ever expected.
How does the Solar wind power technology work?
The satellite launched to tap solar wind power, instead of working like a wind
mill, where a blade attached to the turbine is physically rotated to generate
electricity, would use wire for capturing electrons zooming away from the sun
at several hundred kilometers per second.
The concept for the so-called Dyson-Harrop satellite begins with a long
charged copper wire loop pointed at the sun. This wire is charged to generate
a cylindrical magnetic field that snags the electrons that make up half the
solar wind. These electrons get funnelled into a metal spherical receiver to

produce a current, which generates the wire's magnetic field making the
system self-sustaining.
Any current not needed for the magnetic field powers an infrared laser trained
on satellite dishes back on Earth, designed to collect the energy. Air is
transparent to infrared so Earth's atmosphere won't suck up energy from the
beam before it reaches the ground.
Back on the satellite, the current has been drained of its electrical energy by
the laser the electrons fall onto a ring-shaped sail, where incoming sunlight
can re-energise them enough to keep the satellite in orbit around the sun.
A relatively small Dyson-Harrop satellite using a 1-centimetre-wide copper
wire 300 metres long, a receiver 2 metres wide and a sail 10 metres in
diameter, sitting at roughly the same distance from the sun as the Earth, could
generate 1.7 megawatts of power enough for about 1000 family homes in the
US.
A satellite with the same-sized receiver at the same distance from the sun but
with a 1-kilometre-long wire and a sail 8400 kilometres wide could generate
roughly 1 billion billiongigawatts (1027 watts) of power, "which is actually 100
billion times the power humanity currently requires", says researcher Brooks
Harrop, a physicist at Washington State University in Pullman who designed
the satellite.
Since the satellites are made up mostly of copper, they would be relatively
easy to construct. According to Harrop, this satellite is actually something that
can be built, using modern technology and delivery methods.
Satellites laden with solar panels that can beam their energy down 24 hours a
day have been discussed for decades. California agreed last December to a
deal involving the sale of space-based solar power. Solar panels cost more per
pound than the copper making up the Dyson-Harrop satellites, so according to
Harrop, "the cost of a solar wind power satellite project should be lower than a
comparative solar panel project".
So far so good, but there is one major drawback. To draw significant amounts
of power Dyson-Harrop satellites rely on the constant solar wind found high
above the ecliptic the plane defined by the Earth's orbit around the sun.
Consequently, the satellite would lie tens of millions of kilometres from the
Earth. Over those distances, even a sharp laser beam would spread to
thousands of kilometres wide by the time it reached Earth.
John Mankins, president of consultancy firm Artemis Innovation which
specialises in space solar power said that "Two megawatts spread across areas
that large are meaningless, less than moonlight,".To beam power from a

Dyson-Harrop satellite to Earth, one "would require stupendously huge optics,


such as a virtually perfect lens between maybe 10 to 100 kilometres across,"
Depletion of resources now has become an alarming concept about which
ample general concern and awareness has been raised. So now it is time to
work towards achieving sustainable levels of development. The overpopulation
and the undulating demands are never going to be finished or satisfied and
the world is already facing scarcity of power. About 1.4 billion people live in a
state of permanent blackout. More than two out of three people in subSaharan Africa and almost half of India's rural population have no access to
electricity.
The Solar wind project may have various flaws but those can be corrected
overtime with the ever-developing technology. If this project is put in a
practical shape, the world's scarcity, which was thought to be irreversible will
be undone.
After all, "Necessity is the mother of all inventions."