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"In 1970 I found little difficulty staying 30 years ahead of the man in the street, and now I find it difficult to stay 18 months ahead of the man on the street."
- Vernor Vinge

Energy Converter  
  Massive unit on the sunside of Mercury converts heat into energy, and beams it around the solar system.  

"Cheap energy; cheapest in the System. Sun power, you know, and on Mercury's Sunside, sunpower is something. That's why the Station was built in the sunlight rather than in the shadow of a mountain. It's really a huge energy converter. The heat is turned into electricity, light mechanical work and what have you; so that energy is supplied and the Station is cooled in a simultaneous process."
From Runaround, by Isaac Asimov.
Published by Street and Smith in 1942
Additional resources -

The energy is beamed around the solar system; this is described more fully in succeeding stories the I, Robot series.

Compare to the Near-Space Solar Energy Collectors from Olaf Stapledon's 1937 novel Star Maker. and the solar energy beam from Masquerade by Clifford Simak.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from Runaround
  More Ideas and Technology by Isaac Asimov
  Tech news articles related to Runaround
  Tech news articles related to works by Isaac Asimov

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