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Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by Eshlemon, Oct 24, 2014.
A 20% increase in efficiency is huge. This will help make stand alone solar units a more practicable alternative in certain applications.
That's pretty awesome.
While we're on the subject I just read this:
So this applies to concentrated solar power (CSP), which is used for power plants. It converts solar rays into heat which are then used for steam-based power plants. The cool thing about it is that old coal plants and whatnot run on the same principles (heat producing steam which runs turbines for electricity), so those plants can all be retrofitted to where CSP and not coal is the engine producing the necessary heat.
The current model of a CSP system is to have a bunch of mirrors refracting light onto a tower coated with a special black material that absorbs the sun's rays and transfers the heat to molten salt, which can be stored in special thermal tanks for use overnight, which means you get power 24 hours a day. However the black material on the tower doesn't stand a ton of high heat and has a short shelf life to where once a year these plants need to shut down so they can scrape off the old black material and put some new material on. This is likely a very costly affair as well, I'm sure.
These researchers believe they've not only found a material that converts solar rays into heat with higher efficiency (i.e. more power output), but the material withstands temperatures up to 700 degrees Celsius and that it can survive "many years" outdoors regardless of exposure to air or humidity.
That's very exciting, I would think. All of these existing coal and fossil fuel plants could potentially be retrofited with this technology, and then you're powering the grid with sunlight, with fairly low maintenance costs.
I hate to sound like a dreamer but just imagine this.
You get the electrical grid powered by solar electricity plants. You get cars powered by rechargeable batteries that get charged either by plugging into the electrical grid (which is powered by solar) or by these new solar batteries.
How much does that cut down on fossil fuel demand? A whole hell of a lot, I would imagine.
At that point why would we give two sh-ts about the middle east?
Its estimated that air strikes on ISIS will cost about $3 to $10 Billion a year. In one day we fired 47 tomahawk cruise missiles at $1.5M a pop. Yet, we still get people questioning the DOE dropping $60M in solar research last year. Which is ultimately going to do more to hurt terrorists and secure the US?
Remember now we have the ability to beam electricity short distances. Meaning you can park your car in the garage and it will recharge your battery.
How short are the distances?
Care to share what you're talking about? The only thing I know of are like those recharging pads for phones and stuff.
In other unrelated news exxon buys osu and Scrubs research
Unfortunately I think stuff like this does more damage to solar energy than good.
This bike path which is only like 230 feet long cost $3.7 million to create and will only generate enough electricity to power three houses.
You could say that it's increasing solar's presence and making the public more aware of it, but I think it just gives solar's detractors yet another data point to say that solar is not nor will it ever be efficient enough to be our main source of power (so why invest in it?).
On the other hand it's stuff linked above like the new coating that could be used to improve Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plants that are doing the real hammering away at the barriers to cheap, clean, domestic energy.