Monday, April 20, 2009

Energy Technology Fail: Space Based Solar

Every once in a while it's good to go Star Trekking and imagine the world a few years, if not centuries, down the road. (Think: QDR.) The question about the future isn't whether it's coming, but when. However, not all futures are created equal, and some future science will likely remain fiction.

As nifty as this idea sounds, all the indicators that could give confidence only give pause:
  • Company (Solaren Corp.) funded mainly by founder
  • Company based in founder's house
  • Non-functioning one page web site
A 2007 DOD National Security Space Office report paints a rosy picture of Space Based Solar Power (SBSP) and calls it "interesting." I agree it's interesting ... very interesting, in fact. The report even references the fully burdened cost of fuel (FBCF) as part of its economics argument (kudos). And talk about a technology for reducing fuel convoy traffic to Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) ...

But my guess is that, collisions with space junk notwithstanding, SBSP from Solaren isn't coming to a theater near you anytime soon. And in the meantime, we've got a lot of other, more proximate, DOD energy fish to fry.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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