LIGHT, not just the sun..
Many power plants today use fossil fuels as a heat source to boil water. The steam from the boiling water rotates a large turbine, which activates a generator that produces electricity. However, a new generation of power plants, with concentrating solar power systems, uses the sun as a heat source. There are three main types of concentrating solar power systems: parabolic-trough, dish/engine, and power tower.
Parabolic-trough systems concentrate the sun's energy through long rectangular, curved (U-shaped) mirrors. The mirrors are tilted toward the sun, focusing sunlight on a pipe that runs down the center of the trough. This heats the oil flowing through the pipe. The hot oil then is used to boil water in a conventional steam generator to produce electricity.
A dish/engine system uses a mirrored dish (similar to a very large satellite dish). The dish-shaped surface collects and concentrates the sun's heat onto a receiver, which absorbs the heat and transfers it to fluid within the engine. The heat causes the fluid to expand against a piston or turbine to produce mechanical power. The mechanical power is then used to run a generator or alternator to produce electricity.
A power tower system uses a large field of mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto the top of a tower, where a receiver sits. This heats molten salt flowing through the receiver. Then, the salt's heat is used to generate electricity through a conventional steam generator. Molten salt retains heat efficiently, so it can be stored for days before being converted into electricity. That means electricity can be produced on cloudy days or even several hours after sunset.
This solar thermal power plant (above left) in Kramer Junction, California collects the sun's energy using rows of long, rectangular, curved U-shaped mirrors called parabolic troughs. Each of these plants can power a city.
Are we talking to weirdo long-haired geeks about tomorrow’s technology? Well, decide for yourself. The text above the photos, totally unedited, was taken from a US government web site.http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_csp.html
Having government scientists working on solutions like this, while politicians are promoting CTL (Coal To Liquid) is sort of like having one hand writing the declaration of independence while the other is erasing the words as they are written. That’s just my opinion.
One piece of science I know is this. A molten salt solar power system covering just 1% of the surface area of the Sahara Desert could supply all the electricity used on this entire planet. If you want the numbers to back up this claim – do the math yourself. I have grown tired of people calling solutions probable and technology future. It is here. It works. It is the wondrous result of brilliant minds that are being ignored by coal and oil lobby funded politicians in Washington, DC.
So why the big August 2007 rule change on strip mining rules that will allow more mountaintop removal? Why are coal companies in such a hurry? Anyone in the know is aware that the world alternative energy leader, Iceland is going to Hydrogen. Reykjavik’s municipal bus fleet has already been converted and does not use a drop of oil. But the rest of the world is not sitting on its tar baby either. Sweeden (the cloudy north country) is way ahead of us in solar energy.
the "Minister for Sustainable Development Mona Sahlin has declared that Sweden is going to become the first country in the world to break the dependence on fossil energy. Sweden will stop using oil by 2020 and eventually the energy supply of the country will be based on renewable energy only. The goal is to gradually rid the country of gasoline-run cars and oil-heated homes"
The US and China may eventually be the only places left on earth where compressed, decaying, rotten dead carbon based remains are burned in order to drive to the liquor store and turn on the TV. Is this, catching up to the rest of the world, going to be hard on America? You bet it is. And, the longer we wait the more it is going to cost us. If we adopt a fossil free energy policy like Sweden it will, admittedly , mean that oil furnaces in homes will have to be replaced by electric heating. It will mean that, eventually, every combustion engine (all our cars and trucks) will have to be replaced with either electric or high-powered alternatives such as the H2R from BMW. (The H2R is a hydrogen powered car that exhausts only water and has a top speed of 186 MPH, by the way.)
Compare the above uncalculated cost to America with the alternative. We can level every mountain in sight to get another ten or so years of coal that we burn twice, as we create liquid fuel. Then we are done. A great toursim and destination home moneymaker, our natural beauty, will be gone and we will be resource poor. While we are doing that the rest of the world moves to a near-free energy source. Their functioning and manufacturing costs drop while ours climb. We loose any and every advantage in the world trade market and the United States of America goes bankrupt before some of our children have children.
If you don’t care about the grandchildren that your children my have then please stop reading what I am writing. Just put another coal on the fire and please stop voting.
Here is the great news. Solar panels are no longer panels. They are as thin as tape and, starting this fall, they will cost just 10% of what cells cost today, per watt. How? This is beautiful. An ink. NO. This is not future tech. Everything on this site is about products that are on the market that you can buy today. The technology is in production by an American company. Co-Founder and winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Dr. Alan Heeger from the University of California, Santa Barbara, helped pioneer the research of semiconducting polymers which make this technology possible. By mimicking nature, and operating on the nanoscale, Konarka’s technology is a revolution in solar power design. Quantum Dot Nanocrystals is yet another advancement in this field.
Some fool bought the rights to the Solar Power Tower demonstration projects in the Mojave Desert in order to shut it down. The folks in Spain have no intention of honering that inverted patent holding and are building one as your read this. The Spanish city of Seville is cutting off oil and coal. Won't need it, Thank you. Photos and Video.
"These new technologies give Europe a new option to combat climate change and increase energy security while strengthening the competitiveness of the European industrial sector and creating jobs and growth," said Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs.
I am America. I must be asleep. Will somebody please wake me up before I miss the last new energy express?!?
If you are an investor then non-carbon energy companies may be a place to move some of your energy holdings, becuase a new national government administration might not ignore this issue much longer.