Space power system utilizing Fresnel lenses for solar power and also thermal energy storageA solar power plant suitable for earth orbits passing through Van Allen radiation belts is described. The solar-to-electricity conversion efficiency is estimated to be around 9 percent, and the expected power-to-weight ratio is competitive with photovoltaic arrays. The system is designed to be self-contained, to be indifferent to radiation belt exposures, store energy for periods when the orbiting system is in earth shadow (so that power generation is contant), have no moving parts and no working fluids, and be robust against micrometeorite attack. No electrical batteries are required.
Turner, R. H. (California Institute of Technology, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA, United States)