The European Space Agency has chosen the Franco-Italian industrialist to conduct the Solaris feasibility study, with a view to supplying clean energy on a large scale from space.
An ambitious project within Europe’s reach
Through initiative Net-Zerolaunched in 2021 by theEuropean Climate FoundationI’Europe aim for the neutrality emissions from greenhouse gas by 2050.
Among the solutions that could be adopted by the energy sector is space-based solar energywhich appears to be clean, affordable, available everywhere in the world, modular and renewable.
From this perspective, theEuropean Space Agency (which received the support of its Ministerial Council at the November 2022 meeting in Paris) entrusted a consortium formed around Thales Alenia Space a feasibility study called Solaris.
The challenge is to study the viability of an ambitious project to operate solar power plants in orbit for Earth’s clean energy needs, which would collect solar energy where it is available, without ever being disturbed by weather conditions. or darkness, before sending it to Earth without requiring large storage systems.
New technologies will thus be explored, such as high-efficiency solar panels, wireless energy transmission and robotic assembly in orbit.
The different expertise required can be found within the consortium of European companies gathered around Thales Alenia Space: aviation (Dassault Aviation), strategy consulting (Arthur D. Little), orbital systems (Thales Alenia Space), and of course energy (Liquid air, Enel And Engie).
The Solaris studies, if they prove conclusive, could allow Europe to decide, by 2025, to engage in a program for the commercialization of space solar energy, the first stage of which would be the design of a small demonstrator placed in orbit.
Such a program would make the Old Continent a key player, if not a leader, in the fight against anthropogenic global warming, in addition to terrestrial renewable energies.