369
10
Energy from Space for Sustainable
Commercial Power for Earth
David R. Criswell
10.1 Overview
In 2008, earths commercial power systems provided approximately 2250
watts of thermal power per person (2250 W
t
/person) to its 6.67 billon people.
This totals to approximately 15 terawatts of thermal power (15 TW
t
= 15 × 10
12
W
t
= 2250 W
t
/person × 6.67 × 10
9
people). However, they need the equivalent
of 6000–7500 W
t
/person of sustainable power for sustainable prosperity. So,
by 2050, 10 billion people will need approximately 75 TW
t
of thermal power.
Existing power systems are massive and move so much mass as mining wastes,
coal, oil, natural gas, biomass, CO
2
, ash and spent radionuclides, water, air, and
other forms that they disrupt and contaminate the biosphere locally and glob-
ally and consume 10%15% of gross world product (GWP) ($40 trillion GWP
by year 2000). Both the International Panel on Climate Change and the com-
mercially oriented World Energy Council repeatedly challenge world policy
CONTENTS
10.1 Overview .....................................................................................................369
10.2 Global Wealth and Electric Energy ......................................................... 370
10.3 Global Power Challenges ..........................................................................371
10.3.1 Economic Independence from the Biosphere ............................ 371
10.3.2 Biosphere-Dependent Fossil Fuel Power Systems ..................... 372
10.3.3 Nuclear Fission Reactors ...............................................................372
10.4 Lunar Solar Power System ........................................................................373
10.5 Terrestrial Global Power Systems’ Mass Effectiveness ........................377
10.6 Returns from Lunar Solar Power Investment........................................379
10.7 Twenty-First Century Power Tools ..........................................................382
10.8 Moving Forward to 2050 ...........................................................................383
Acknowledgments ..............................................................................................384
Questions for Discussion ...................................................................................384
References .............................................................................................................387
370 Engineering Response to Climate Change
makers to enable a new sustainable global commercial power system that pro-
vides abundant and affordable electric power. Now, 3 W
t
generate approxi-
mately 1 W
e
of electric power. The global power system provides an average of
300 W
e
of electric power per person (300 W
e
/person). By 2050, almost all power
will be delivered electrically, and 20 to 30 TW
e
can enable a prosperous world
of 10 billion people (20 TW
e
= 2000 W
e
/person × 10 × 10
9
people).
The sun dependably illuminates our moon with 13,000 TW
s
of solar power or
approximately 650 times the 20 TW
e
needed by a prosperous earth. The lunar
solar power (LSP) system uses solar-powered bases built on the moon to collect
1% of this sustainable power to dependably supply receivers on earth with safe
microwave power beams (230 W
e
/m
2
or 20% the intensity of noon sunlight).
The 20 TW
e
is output on earth from approximately 100,000 km
2
of receivers and
then into electric power grids all about earth without signicant movement of
mass within the biosphere. The LSP system can pay for its own growth after
an investment of approximately $500 billion ($500 × 10
9
). LSP start-up, over 15
years, costs less than 1 year of the 2009 U.S. Department of Defense budget.
Since 1980, Japan and western Europe have produced approximately
$42 trillion of gross domestic product (GDP) from 1 terawatt year of electric
energy (1 TWe-y). By 2050, a 20-TWe LSP system can enable a sustainable
$840trillion GWP or >$84,000 GWP/person. Additional clean LSP electric
energy can be used to extract all industrial carbon dioxide from earths
atmosphere. A >$10 trillion gross lunar product (GLP) is possible within the
twenty-rst century.
10.2 Global Wealth and Electric Energy
Both the International Panel on Climate Change and the commercially ori-
ented World Energy Council have repeatedly challenged world policy mak-
ers to enable a new sustainable and affordable global commercial power
system within the rst part of this century [1, 2, 3]. However, they and most
government, private, and nonprot organizations tend to extrapolate the
growth of commercial power from the capabilities of existing systems. They
do not provide a systematic method by which to estimate the minimum
commercial power needed to sustainably support earth’s growing human
population independent of our biosphere and then use those projections to
identify and implement the required power systems.
Why is commercial electric power so important? Electricity, as opposed
tochaotic thermal energy, is potentially the most effective source of useful
work in nal application. This is because an electric force vector, technology
permitting, can be directed precisely, from the macrolevel to the atomic level,
to deliver useful work and, thereby, clean new wealth and sustainable eco-
nomic activity. Since commercial electric power was introduced inthe1880s,

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