Mitsubishi Heavy Industries successfully completed a ground demonstration testing of Wireless Power Transmission Technology–a new technology presently under development to serve as the core technology of the Space Solar Power Systems (SSPS). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries said it used microwave technology to send 10 kilowatts of power—enough to run a set of conventional kitchen appliances—through the air to a receiver 500 metres (1,640 feet) away.
SSPS is expected to be the power generation system of the future. With successful completion of the test MHI has now verified the viability of long-distance wireless power transmission.
The transmission distance and power load mark new milestones in Japan with respect to 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 ground demonstration testing based on an agreement with Japan Space Systems, the incorporated foundation that has been consigned by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry to carry out the “2012 Solar Power Wireless Transmission Technology Development Project.”
Wireless power transmission technology aims to eliminate the cable connections conventionally necessary for transmitting electricity, and the newly successful test results lead the way to applying the technology in numerous terrestrial fields. The achievement of wireless power transmission over long distances will not only facilitate the transmission of power to locations where installation of power cables has been difficult or dangerous; it is also expected to contribute to transmission of power from offshore wind turbines and various other applications in the future. One readily conceivable application is wireless transmission of power to electric vehicles.
The wireless power transmission being developed for SSPS usage is referred to as a radio emission technology, and once the technology is achieved it will enable wireless transmission of power over unprecedented distances.
The SSPS is being developed as a system that will generate power on a geostationary satellite at 36,000 kilometers above the earth using solar cell panels; the generated power will be transmitted to earth by microwave/laser – i.e. without relying on cables – and the power received on the ground will be converted to electrical energy. As the power source is environmentally clean and inexhaustible, the SSPS is highly anticipated to become a mainstay energy source that will simultaneously solve both environmental and energy issues.