Select Language



The Global Energy Prize annually honors outstanding achievements in energy research and technology from around the world that are helping address the world’s various and pressing energy challenges.

The Economics of Space: Michael Graetzel about The Real Cost of Launching Solar Power Systems into Earth’s Orbit

Michael Graetzel, professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, the 2017 Global Energy Prize laureate.

Hello, my name is Michael Graetzel. And I'm a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne Switzerland.  I' m also the recipient of the 2017 Global Energy Award. The question that has been put to me whether solar power station that has been put in space could provide energy to remote areas on Earth. And indeed this concept is feasible and it's been shown that we can collect solar energy in space, in fact the Sun is more intense in space that on earth and we have 24-hour sunshine. So, there are two big advantages. And you can beam the energy that is collected from the Sun by laser or microwave back to the earth to the receiver station. So, that's possible the advantages. But the disadvantage at this time is the big, very big cost for launching. Would have to come down to two hundred dollars a kilogram and that's a to all of the magnitude lower than what it cost today as just rocket launches the material. There's also problems with the transmission of this power. The microwave is spreading the beam.  I guess at the Russian academy of science pattern that has been granted these days addresses this transmission problem and hence makes a big support to the implementation of this technology which certainly has future and is actively research on by many space agencies. Thank you.

Developed by Brickwall