A partnership between a private entity and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has been launched to experiment with beaming solar power from space.
As reported by Japanese media outlet Nikkei, the partnership could run its first trial as early as 2025.
Scientists plan to use microwaves – which are unaffected by cloud cover – to beam solar energy generated in space to Earth, where they can be converted into electrical energy.
Japan first made strides in this field in the 1980s, when researchers achieved power transmission using microwaves in space.
In 2009, a research group led by Naoki Shinohara, a professor at Kyoto University, transmitted power from an altitude of nearly 100 feet (30m) to a mobile phone on the ground.
In the future, researchers at the university aim to carry out these transmissions over distances ranging from one kilometer to more than five kilometers.
Naoki Shinohara believes that, if Japan can demonstrate this technology before first, it will offer the country a “bargaining tool” with other nations.
As part of its plans to demonstrate the working of the technology, the team plans to use small satellites to beam microwaves to ground stations hundreds of miles away.
The experiment is set to be attempted in 2025.
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