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Architecture Alternatives Capturing Solar Energy in Space and Converting to Hydrogen

Cheeseman, Dan F.1
1 Systems Architecting, Raytheon, Tucson, AZ.

Energy management will become a key factor and metric in the transformation of the US energy policy in the 21st Century to a force significantly less dependent on carbon based fuels. This position paper defines an innovative architecture to provide a sustainable non-carbon fuel supply. Included for consideration is technical background, science discussion, pathfinder concepts, architecture artifacts. Overall output from our studies is a disciplined solar energy capture to production architectural providing technology alternatives, schedule to provide near term wireless transmitted power to the grid and a plausible solution providing non-restrictive power to the US economy.

The following is self evident: Carbon Based fuels are a key element of the economy’s of the world logistical train. Oil and gas is expensive to locate, produce and transport. Traditional carbon supplies are subject to regional political factors. These driving factors have required the US to begin development of strategic and tactical plans to assure energy is positively available to the economy. Alternate fuel technologies will be key study focus of future Raytheon research studies.. This white paper defines the concept, principles, technical approach and benefits to execute architecture based study to define a plausible role for solar power in the solution space for transformational energy management. Specifically, this paper (Fig 1) will focus on the integration of captured space solar energy to rectenna grid, beaming the collected power to earth via micro-wave channels. Then re-beams micro-wave energy to points as electricity. However, the most beneficial approach to space solar collection may be the ability to convert water sources to hydrogen or even methane. This conversion via the “Sabatier Process” has the potential to add sustaining solutions to the US hydro-carbon needs and could be the enabling factor that supports increased use of Hydrogen Fuel cells across the enterprise. This paper defines the architecture studies needed to define the overarching enterprise approach for the collection of Space Solar energy and subsequent conversion in a technology based spiral approach. In addition, a defined architectural product will be the cost, schedule and technology definition including an assessment of the gaps that must be filled to capture the sustaining power of the sun and convert to usable energy for the economic engine.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009