A new research project will explore the potential of using space-based reflectors to shine additional sunlight towards future large-scale solar power farms on the ground at dawn and dusk.
Researchers at the University of Glasgow have received a £2.2m European Research Council Advanced Grant to support five years of research into new ways of maximising solar power generation.
The work will outline the potential benefits of satellite reflectors.
The reflectors would work by redirecting sunlight from orbit towards future large-scale solar power farms on earth at the start and end of each day when consumer demand for power is at its peak but the output from solar farms is weakest.
The researchers will investigate the most efficient orbits and control strategies for the reflectors so they can generate the maximum additional power on the ground while minimising the amount of stray light that reaches the earth.
Professor McInnes from the University of Glasgow’s School of Engineering said: ‘The broad range of services delivered by the space sector are information-based; satellite navigation, telecommunications and Earth observation. However, the possibility of delivering energy from space offers entirely new opportunities for the future.
‘The delivery of global clean energy services is one of the key challenges for the 21st century.
‘I’m delighted to have received this Advanced Grant from the European Research Council and I’m looking forward to starting work with our team on this exciting project to understand how space technology can contribute to the future of global energy services.’
The president of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Mauro Ferrari, said: ‘I am glad to announce a new round of ERC grants that will back cutting-edge, exploratory research, set to help Europe and the world to be better equipped for what the future may hold.
‘That’s the role of blue-sky research. These senior research stars will cut new ground in a broad range of fields, including the area of health. I wish them all the best in this endeavour and, at this time of crisis, let me pay tribute to the heroic and invaluable work of the scientific community as a whole.’
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