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According to Stargate Wikia, the Destiny uses eight "ram scoop" modules to collect plasma from what appears to be the photosphere of stars. Then it is funneled into reactors, where it is converted into usable energy that is stored somewhere in some form on the ship.

From what I understand about the possible forms of power storage in the canon universe, it cannot be a ZPM, since ZPMs utilize vacuum energy and are non-rechargeable. The most interesting clue I can gather is from SGU's Awakening, where in one scene the main monitor displays an abstract view of the power levels aboard Destiny. It shows an overall reading of available energy along with a breakdown of four "sub-readings" with leading lines protruding from the overall reading.

What other possible technologies am I missing that could fit the profile of Destiny's voluminous energy capacity, and ability to recharge?

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  • If it is collecting hydrogen why would it need something exotic? Storage is a jar of hydrogen and power is a fusion reactor. Star trek ships collect hydrogen too. Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 19:45

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One of the possible methods that Destiny could use is a more advanced form of Subspace Capacitor. In The Daedalus Variations, the Daedalus utilized a subspace capacitor developed by Dr. Rodney McKay to extract energy from subspace in a similar manner to a ZPM, therefore providing comparable levels of power. Two crucial differences make this a likely possibility that this is the type of technology behind Destiny.

First, most of the methods the Ancients used to harness Zero Point Energy for power generation were notoriously dangerous. Project Arcturus (SGA S02E06), and The Trinity Experiment (SGA S03E08) come to mind. These projects utilized Zero Point Energy extraction, which were able to generate enormous amounts of power. However, this extraction method created exotic particles which inherently destabilize space-time. In The Daedalus Variations (SGA S05E04), there is no such mention of Zero Point Energy extraction; instead drawing power from subspace, a region of space-time folded away from our four dimensions on the plank scale.

Second, and the more crucial difference, the Subspace Capacitor had the ability to recharge. Zero Point Energy extraction is assumed to be irreversible, so the Subspace capacitor must use some other mechanism of generating power that is. A fascinating observation is that Destiny's mechanism of power storage decays over long time scales (what doesn't?), resulting in Destiny's power storage systems' diminished functionality.

Rush: Probably about-- less than 40% of original design capacity

SGU: Water

It is likely that the Ancients had experimented with a multitude of different methods extracting vacuum energy from subspace. Each probably had different advantages and disadvantages, such as the ability to reverse the the flow of energy (remove entropy from subspace at the expense of increasing it (i.e. heat) in "real" space), or how quickly energy can be extracted. While it is curious why the Ancients in the latter stages of their civilization decided to utilize non-rechargeable forms of portable energy storage (ZPMs), it is not necessarily indicative of a deliberate choice not to utilize subspace capacitor based ones. It may simply be that the technologies involved in Destiny's construction were simply forgotten, or buried underneath layers of archived information in the Ancient Database.

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Perhaps the reason they use non-rechargeable ZPMs in the latter years is a mix of cheaper/easier to fabricate and larger storage capacity.

If they can easily make new ones there's no need for making them rechargable, it only became a problem when they went extinct and their descendents had to scavenge.

The Destiny was designed for unmanned long term use so they were forced to make it rechargeable.

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  • Welcome to SFF! Try to support your answers from the source material. Take our tour to see what kind of answers we are looking for.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 14:25
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The answer may have been Superconductor Magnetic Energy Storage (SMES) (https://quantumlevitation.com/energy-storage-can-superconductors-be-the-solution/ and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_magnetic_energy_storage)

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you point to any in-story sources that suggest that this was the mechanism used? Answers aren't for pure speculation, they should be informed by what is known about the show in-universe, as well as what the creators might have said behind the scenes.
    – DavidW
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 13:52
  • This does appear to be total guesswork. I certainly can't recall any mention of these technologies in the show.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 2, 2022 at 14:18

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