Energy Infrastructure

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The energy infrastructure of a Mars settlement requires energy sources, energy storage and an energy distribution system. Energy infrastructure production facilities may include photo-voltaic arrays, nuclear reactors. etc.

Energy generation

Photovoltaics

Nuclear

Storage

Backup power

Energy transportation and distribution

Electrical power networks

On Earth, most electrical power distribution systems are centralised systems. A power station, hydro, fuel or nuclear creates the electrical energy at a central location. The electricity is stepped up to a high voltage for long distance transportation. Transportation lines go to regional power centers, where the voltage is reduced for distribution to home and industry. The voltage is further reduced as the end user for equipment.

Some end users will have local back-up power generation, and will be able to power emergency systems if the central power is lost. The connecting element is a transfer switch. Likewise systel designers will try to provide more than one source for regional power centers, and loop the distribution circuits so that every user can be connected by two differents paths for redundancy.

A typical system on Earth (Canadian example) will produce electricity voltages between 2.3-30 kV, depending on the size of the generator. This is stepped up using transformers to 375 000 to 735 000 Volts, then down to 25 000 Volts and down again to 5600 V for some heavy industry, 600/347V for commercial and industrial, and 240/120V for residential. Different countries and regions use different voltages.

If nuclear reactors are use as power sources on Mars, then the power network will probably have a similar structure. However, if solar power is used the network may take on a more distributed architecture, with a number of power sources rather than a single central one.

Pipelines