Energy Capture and Creation Database
This installment of our SpaceFund Reality (SFR) rating is focused on energy transmission. Moving energy from the point of generation to the user is always a challenge. In many cases, and as technology advances, many facilities and spacecraft will have their own on-board energy creation capabilities. Especially in the era of small satellites, the idea of consolidating energy production in a single larger source of generation makes sense. Then comes the challenge of how to get the energy out to the user. On planetary surfaces the old school option of running power lines is a viable choice over short distances.
However, in space, the distances involved and the motion of the energy consumer mean other methods need to be found. So far, the key contenders are various radio frequencies, microwaves, and lasers.
The challenges of wave-based transmission are the dispersion of the waves over distance, and conversion from the source energy into the waves and back into electricity. Both of these cause a significant loss of power to occur and affect the efficiencies of the systems. Another factor is if the energy has to pass through an atmosphere. Thus wave based energy transmission is seen as most useful when the power source and the collection base are large, and where the ease of use and lack of complexity over time makes it competitive with other energy sources.
Lasers, while much more efficient due to their ability to remain coherent, are also affected by losses when encountering atmospheres. They are also somewhat binary in their need to be locked onto their target, and of course, given their identification as possible weapons when pointed in the wrong direction, they face some degree of social sanction in terms of being applied to providing energy to Earth – not so much in space to space or Earth to space applications.
It is not hard to imagine large solar or nuclear power plants in Free Space transmitting power via microwaves or lasers to other space locations and interplanetary transport systems. There is also at least one very serious project in the works to locate solar collectors on the near-permanently sunlit rims of Lunar polar craters and beam the energy via microwave down to camps and mining operations below.
However, those who are focused on developing such systems for Earth today face a daunting task, given the massive investments needed to build the infrastructure and competition from ever lower costs for renewable energy and storage systems here on Earth.
This all being said, there are very good cases to be made for beamed power on Earth even today. An example is the supply of energy for forward deployed military bases or other locations where traditional power generation and supplies are hugely expensive. Some nations with vast energy needs and few resources are investing large sums in the hopes of making space solar power a reality, with much of that funding focused on transmission. Meanwhile, the technology continues to improve. SpaceFund sees great possibilities for the development of efficient power transmission – even if the overall promise of space solar power continues to perennially remain a decade in the future.
The Energy Capture and Creation SpaceFund Reality rating (SFR) is a detailed database of only 5 companies from all over the world that are either actively creating, or planning to create, technology and services to improve energy transmission in space. Each company has been assigned an SFR rating based on our analysis, publicly available data, and expert insights.
If you haven’t already, please consult our SpaceFund Reality (SFR) ratings page to learn more about the rating, its purpose, and the underlying formula, as well as to view a complete list of the SpaceFund sectors of interest.
How to Use This Table
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Important Note (Alpha Sort Columns vs Numeric Sort Columns): In the Power column, any figure listed as a “0” is simply a placeholder for unavailable data. This is due to the nature of this table format, and to ensure that the columns sort properly, a numeric character must be included in each cell. So, for example, if a company is listed to have a Power of “0” this simply means that this information is not publicly available and the “0” acts as a replacement for “N/A”.
The Funding column is set to sort alphabetically. Since this column contains alphabetic characters in some cells, it will sort alphabetically, not numerically and so the “-” character has been used to represent unavailable data. All other columns in the table will also sort alphabetically.
Important Note (Companies not Products): This database, and the SpaceFund Reality ratings, are based on COMPANIES, not specific products or technologies.
How to Provide Updated Data
Have we missed your company? Do you feel that your company should have a different rating? Is the listed data inaccurate or outdated? Do you see missing data for your company? The best way to update your information in this database is to reach out to us directly to provide additional information about your technology, management team, funding history, and company progress. We are also eager to learn about any additional data sources that can help us in our ongoing research, so please feel free to share any resources you know of with our team.
Updates will be published as new information becomes available.
SpaceFund Reality (SFR) Rating
Energy Transmission Database
|wdt_ID||Company||SFR||Type||Application||Location||Power (kW)||Cost ($/kWh)||Funding ($M)||Country||HQ Location||Description|
|9||Powerlight Technologies||3||Laser||-||-||0||0.00||2.07||USA||Kent, WA||Using free-space optical beaming to provide power over long distances|
|10||Solaren||2||Radio||Surface||Earth Orbit; Moon||250,000||0.00||-||USA||Manhattan Beach, CA||Developing the world’s first Space Solar Power (SSP) plants|
|11||Space Power||2||-||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit||0||0.00||-||United Kingdom||Harwell, England||Aiming to power the future space industry through wireless power transmission|
|12||Virtus Solis||2||Microwave||Surface||Earth Orbit||100,000||0.03||-||USA||Los Angeles, CA||Delivering the most affordable power on Earth by harnessing space solar power at an industrial scale|
|6||Lumi Space||4||Laser||Spacecraft||Earth Orbit||0||0.15||-||United Kingdom||London, England||Delivering power to satellites from a network of ground-based laser stations|
|7||Solar Space Technologies||3||Microwave||Surface||Earth Orbit||30,000,000||0.00||-||Australia||Melbourne, Victoria||Providing space baseload solar power for Australia & the world|
|8||XISP||3||Laser, Microwave, Radio||Spacecraft; Surface||Earth Orbit; Moon||1,000||0.00||-||USA||Cabin John, MD||Developing deployable, frequency-agnostic power and ancillary services beaming infrastructure for Space-to-Space, Surface-to-Surface, Space-to-Lunar Surface, and Space-to-Earth applications|
|Company||SFR||Type||Application||Location||Power (kW)||Cost ($/kWh)||Funding ($M)||Country||HQ Location||Description|
SpaceFund Sectors of Interest
SpaceFund is interested in a number of sectors of the space economy, specifically Transportation, Communication, Human Factors, Supplies, and Energy. In the coming months we will post SFR ratings for companies from all of these sectors, providing a robust overview of the state of frontier-enabling companies across the industry. Please check back frequently to view new sub-sector databases, and sign up to receive our emails to be notified of each new release.
Click on the black buttons below to view the available SFR databases.