For years debates have raged about whether or not power could be transferred through the air, and while there have been many reports of this being achieved on a small scale, there has never been a major mainstream study into the phenomenon, until now. Scientists with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency used microwaves to deliver electricity to a specific target 55 meters away.
"This was the first time anyone has managed to send a high output of nearly two kilowatts of electric power via microwaves to a small target, using a delicate directivity control device," a spokesman for the agency told AFP on Thursday. "SSPS consists of a space-based power generation/transmission facility that gathers sunlight, converts it into microwaves or laser beams, and transmits those to the ground; and a power receiving facility on the ground," explained researcher Yasuyuki Fukumuro. "There are many technological challenges to solve before SSPS can be implemented. When transmitting power by microwaves, a significant technological challenge is how to control the direction, and transmit it with pinpoint accuracy from a geostationary orbit to a receiving site on the ground," he added.
The SSPS project will initially be geared towards space applications, to power space stations, shuttles, and equipment, but will eventually be used for practical purposes on Earth as well.