Online Journal of Space Communication
From Uranium Enrichment to Renewable Energy: Conversion of the US-DOE’s Former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) in Piketon, Ohio, into a Clean Energy Production Facility Within a Decade
The large-scale energy production projects described here, of which the
Portsmouth Solar Power Production site at Piketon Ohio is the illustrative
example, are chosen to describe how multi-megawatt quantities of “baseload”
renewable electrical power can be reliably generated from terrestrial solar farms.
Also to be shown are the steps to be taken in making these energy resources
simultaneously available to local and global power grids, 24-hours-a-day 12-
This paper focuses attention on The U.S. Department Of Energy’s former
Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS), a Cold War-era uranium
enrichment plant located on a secure 3,700+ acres in a rural area of SE Ohio.
The authors argue that the PORTS plant is a suitable demonstration site for the
first-ever fully integrated ground solar and space solar energy production facility.
In the scenario outlined below, the former gaseous diffusion facility in Ohio will be
repurposed as a utility-scale producer of clean and renewable electrical power,
approximating the quantities of electricity it consumed after 1955, when two coal-
fired plants were installed on the Ohio River to feed it.
As proposed, conversion of the plant to renewable energy production will take
place in three stages: by 2018, a stand-alone terrestrial (PV) solar farm will be
installed on an estimated 600 acres; by 2020, reflected sunlight will be beamed
to the site from space mirrors placed in medium-to-low earth space orbits for the
purpose of enhancing the intensity of solar radiation at the site and extending the
solar day by four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening; and by
2022, sun power converted to electromagnetic energy in the form of continuous
wireless microwave transmissions originating in a high geosynchronous space
orbit will be targeting a raised mesh antenna installed directly over the solar farm.
This will be a rectifying antenna (rectenna) serving as the ground receiver and
converter for the energy beams of the GSO positioned satellite mated to it, while
allowing the sunlight to fall through to the photovoltaic panels directly below it.
Sun’s energy acquired via these PV and microwave platforms will be translated
into alternating (AC) current flowing continuously outward into the local
community via the same high voltage electrical grid that once powered uranium enrichment processing at the Portsmouth site. Further, the authors illustrate
several ways the mating of space solar and terrestrial solar installations for
renewable power production can be repeated in other locations around the globe.
Flournoy, Don; Roth, Shmuel; and Ala-Uddin, Mohammad
"From Uranium Enrichment to Renewable Energy: Conversion of the US-DOE’s Former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) in Piketon, Ohio, into a Clean Energy Production Facility Within a Decade,"
Online Journal of Space Communication: Vol. 10:
17, Article 15.
Available at: https://ohioopen.library.ohio.edu/spacejournal/vol10/iss17/15
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