Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has successfully completed a demonstration project that it says confirms the viability of wireless power transmission, a new technology presently under development that MHI believes will serve as the core technology of the space solar power systems (SSPS) that it expects to be the power generation systems of the future. MHI says that with successful completion of the test at its Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, it has verified the viability of long-distance wireless power transmission.
In the ground demo test 10 kW of power was sent from a transmitting unit by microwave. The reception of power was confirmed at a receiver unit located at a distance of 500 m by the illumination of LED lights, using part of the power transmitted. The system demonstration was designed to be capable of collecting about 10% of the transmitted power but because the purpose of the test was only to confirm wireless power transmission, fewer antenna were set to receive than the number required to fully receive power.
The distance and power load mark new milestones in Japan in terms of length and volume of wireless power transmission. The testing also confirmed the performance of the advanced control system technology used to regulate the direction of the microwave beam so that it does not veer from the targeted receiver unit.
MHI conducted the tests following an agreement with Japan Space Systems, the incorporated foundation that had been selected by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to carry out the "2012 Solar Power Wireless Transmission Technology Development Project." This achievement will not only facilitate the sending of power to locations where installation of cables has been difficult, it is also expected to contribute to transmission from offshore wind turbines and various other applications in the future. One readily conceivable application is transmission to electric vehicles.
The system being developed for SSPS usage is referred to as a radio emission technology, and once the technology is achieved it will, says MHI, enable wireless transmission of power over unprecedented distances.
The SSPS is being developed as a system that can generate power from solar cells mounted on a geostationary satellite orbiting 36 000 km from earth, and transmitting it to earth by microwave/laser. The power received at ground level would be converted to electrical energy. As the power source is environmentally clean and (effectively) inexhaustible, the SSPS is anticipated to become a mainstay energy source that will solve both environmental and energy issues.