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... they have already sold futures on the market
Seems impractical and unsafe to me: Aircraft and birds flying through the beam may get cooked.If the satellite went out of alignment it could scorch a trail across the surface of the earth.Quote from: D. Paul F. Kuhlmann on 06/12/2010 01:30:03... they have already sold futures on the marketPeople put a shedload of money into "cold fusion" : investment of money doesn't mean the project is feasible or profitable.
One could, in theory, make the equatorial regions on earth cooler, and the polar regions on earth warmer.
So, they are wanting to patent the space deployment of parabolic mirrors for the capture of stellar light? I thought that was what the Hubble was about.
As I mentioned earlier, I'd design it with a 2-way communication stream. If it drifts, send a kill command immediately.
It has been suggested that, for best efficiency, the satellite antenna should be circular and about 1 kilometer in diameter or larger; the ground antenna (rectenna) should be elliptical, 10 km wide, and a length that makes the rectenna appear circular from GEO (Geostationary Orbit). (Typically, 14 km at some North American latitudes.) Smaller antennas would result in increased losses to diffraction/sidelobes. For the desired (23 mW/cm²) microwave intensity  these antennas could transfer between 5 and 10 gigawatts of power.According to some research, to collect and convert the target volume of power, the satellite would require between 50 and 100 square kilometers of collector area (if readily available ~14% efficient monocrystalline silicon solar cells were deployed). State of the art multi-junction solar cells with a maximum efficiency of 43%  could reduce the necessary collector area by two thirds. In any case, an SPS's structure will necessarily be large (perhaps kilometers across), making it larger than most man-made structures on Earth, and building structures of such size in orbit has never been attempted.
SafetyThe use of microwave transmission of power has been the most controversial issue in considering any SPS design.At the Earth's surface, a suggested microwave beam would have a maximum intensity at its center, of 23 mW/cm2 (less than 1/4 the solar irradiation constant), and an intensity of less than 1 mW/cm2 outside of the rectenna fenceline (the receiver's perimeter). These compare with current United States Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) workplace exposure limits for microwaves, which are 10 mW/cm2, - the limit itself being expressed in voluntary terms and ruled unenforceable for Federal OSHA enforcement purposes. A beam of this intensity is therefore at its center, of a similar magnitude to current safe workplace levels, even for long term or indefinite exposure. Outside the receiver, it is far less than the OSHA long-term levels Over 95% of the beam energy will fall on the rectenna. The remaining microwave energy will be absorbed and dispersed well within standards currently imposed upon microwave emissions around the world. It is important for system efficiency that as much of the microwave radiation as possible be focused on the rectenna. Outside of the rectenna, microwave intensities rapidly decrease, so nearby towns or other human activity should be completely unaffected.
The old Geezer is probably right -