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IIn the 1941 short story Reason Science fiction author Isaac Asimov described a future where electricity is generated in space and then beamed down to Earth1. It took nearly three decades for engineers to first describe a viable way to get such an orbiting power plant to work. This week, nearly 50 years after that first technical proposal and over 80 years after the short story, CalTech took a giant step toward making this sci-fi idea a reality: on Tuesday, its experimental orbiting solar power satellite was launched into orbit. The project is supported by over $100 million in donations from real estate billionaire Donald Bren.
This prototype satellite will be able to start its first tests in a few weeks. It consists of a modular test component that could form the basis for building larger solar power plants in orbit, 32 different types of photovoltaic cells to test which type is best for use in space, and a microwave array to test the To test radiant power to the earth’s surface. If the technology proves itself, it could help overcome one of solar power’s biggest limitations: In orbit, you can arrange things so that it’s rarely night. .
“No matter what, this prototype is a big step forward,” Ali Hajimiri, a co-director of the project, said in a press release to Space. There are still many risks, but after going through the entire process, we learned valuable lessons. We believe the space experiments will provide us with much additional useful information that will guide the project as we move forward.”
1 Historically, the robots that ran this power plant also developed a religion in which they worshiped it. So keep an eye on ChatGPT’s spiritual leanings as the training data grows and includes information about the successful launch of the project.
The Great Reading
Renewable energy saw a $500 billion boom in government investment in 2022
The International Energy Agency reported that global government spending to support clean energy has increased by over $500 billion since March and a plethora of measures to reduce dependency on fossil fuels have emerged.
Read more here.
discoveries and innovations
The USDA has granted a conditional license to a vaccine developed by Dalan animal healththis helps prevent American foulbrood in honey bees.
Family farms across the country have started using it food waste to generate electricity for their operation.
A real estate development in Florida contains 86 homes that, thanks to solar energy and good technology, can be powered for weeks even when they are off the grid.
Sustainability deals of the week
Next generation batteries: West Virginia will soon be home to a new Form Energy-owned factory that has produced a next-generation battery made from cheap materials like iron, water and oxygen.
Battery recycling online: Nevada-based Aqua Metals announced that its lithium battery recycling facility is now operational and expects its first products to hit the market in the first quarter of this year.
Deep Tech: The University of Chicago has launched Polsky Deep Tech Ventures, a $20 million initiative to develop companies built on cutting-edge science, including an accelerator for clean tech startups.
At the horizon
Despite possible economic downturnsAnalysts expect investments in the cleantech sector to continue to grow in 2023 and beyond, with Pitchbook estimating the total size of the market to be around $1.4 trillion within the next five years.
What else we’re reading this week
The Coming Year in Energy (Gizmodo)
Will Brazilian President Lula keep his climate promises? (Nature)
Will there be a global emissions plateau in 2023? Four trends in mind (Scientific American)
Green transport update
Tesla got off to a great start in 2022, ramping up production at its Shanghai facility and opening new gigafactories in Berlin and Austin earlier this year. But as the months went by, things started to change, and not just because of the ongoing chaos of CEO Elon Musk’s Twitter purchase. And 2023 is not looking good so far. The world’s leading electric vehicle brand this week reported fourth-quarter delivery numbers that fell short of analysts’ already downgraded expectations. With increasingly fierce competition in the electric vehicle market in both North America and China, Tesla’s stated goal of growing sales by 50% annually looks increasingly unlikely, even as overall sales of battery-powered cars and trucks rise across the board.
The great history of transport
Plug in, switch on: The hottest new electric vehicles are coming in 2023
An impressive array of electric cars, trucks and SUVs will hit the market throughout 2023, with stunning designs and extended ranges that should help drive sales exponentially – perhaps even dramatically – to a growing number of EV enthusiasts. Here’s a quick look at 19 brand new models headed to dealer showrooms over the coming months.
Read more here.
More green transport news
Tesla stock slips to a 29-month low — but one analyst says it’s staying on “the right” path
2023 transportation trends that could impact the future of transportation
According to the 2021 census, 67% of Islington households do not have a motor vehicle
The expensive and harmful truth about electric vehicles
EV tax credits have changed, but would credit make more sense?
Warren Buffett-backed BYD electric vehicle sales climb to monthly record in December
Should the megajoule replace the kWh as the unit of energy for electric cars? let me finish
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