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Solar Power

Discussion in 'Earth and Environmental Science' started by Shaun, 21 Feb 2012.

  1. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    http://www.euronews.com/2013/01/22/sun-powered-boat-sets-off-to-research-gulf-stream/

    100% powered by the sun and not a small boat either. It does seem like one of the most obvious things to try and get off the fossil fuels. We know boats can be powered by the wind and if you had a combination wind/solar then you would imagine that you could get 100% eco-friendly boats that consumed no power, no matter what the weather.

    Considering how much stuff is shipped around the world you would have thought this could dramatically reduce the cost of shipping goods.
     
  2. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

    I recall seeing a little version of this at a science discovery park many years ago. The idea of making use of 'free' energy (i.e. that which would otherwise go to waste) is very appealing. I'm considering building a trickle charger for a battery that powers my amateur radio when I'm operating in the field - just need the time to do it!
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  3. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    http://www.planetsolar.org/the-boat - looks a bit freakish when all the panels are pulled out, but it's this sort of innovative thinking that leads to change - "proving" that the concepts and technology work.

    Whether you could translate the technology to the big container transporters I don't know? Maybe a solar array on top of each containter with a built-in parallel electrical connector at the base - that connects to the containers below and feeds the power to the 'grid' on the deck of the ship?
     
  4. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    http://www.engadget.com/2013/04/22/ibm-alliance-solar-collector-concentrates-power-of-2k-suns/

    With potential cost per KWh at about the high end of coal.

    With the added by product of using the spare heat to make clean drinking water.
     
    Shaun likes this.
  5. Tumbleweed

    Tumbleweed New Geek

    When I was living in Idaho, I had a generator set up for my electricity, and also looked at putting in some solar panels. They were just out of my budget to try to change over to solar and back it up with the generator. No matter what, you also need a good battery set up to be able to store the electricity.
    We ran the generator until the battery was charged up, and while it was running, I used the stove for any necessary cooking, or for doing my laundry.
    As long as I was careful with it, the battery was fine for just using lights, or something small.

    I have seen some houses that are built with large windows on the south side for passive solar heating, and I think that this idea works really well.
    Another thing that is possible for everyone to do , is outside lighting. I have solar lights around in the yard, and am going to get some that have motion sensors in them next. They can be mounted almost anywhere that you need a motion sensor light since they don't need wiring.
    I also had a small solar panel that went in my car and plugged into the cigarette lighter, and it kept the battery charged up in the winter , so you never went to the car and found a dead battery.

    Even if a person doesn't go all out solar, there are a lot of small things we can easily use it for.
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  6. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    My parents neighbors have just had solar panels added to their roof. So it does seem to be creeping in. I don't understand why new builds are not forced to have solar roofing. Seems like the obvious way to move forward quicker and there would be economy of scale.
     
  7. OhioTom76

    OhioTom76 Active Geek

    There was a news report on these recently citing some of the dangers of having them. Apparently they are prone to catching fire and causing house fires. Also, the reported savings that they were supposed to deliver weren't coming true due to a variety of unforeseen circumstances. The community that the news report focused on was kind of in an uproar and battling with the manufacturers of the solar panels to get the issue corrected, and the panels replaced with something more secure. Of course they are getting a lot of push back from the companies though, who are going to have to eat the costs.
     
  8. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  9. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  10. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    Quite amazing. Solar cells that can be made at room temperature from solutions. Could end up being everywhere. Which is always the best solution for energy generation. Lots of things generating electricity where you need it.

    I could see this one being good for displays. Plug the power directly into the screen by meshing in these cells with the display cells and you get instant brightness boost when there is more light, without putting any extra strain on the battery.
     
  11. Shaun

    Shaun Über Geek

    Is this the Quantum-dot photovoltaics cells developed by MIT where about 9 percent of the energy of sunlight is converted to electricity?

    [​IMG]

    Sounds really promising, and with the "in air" manufacturing process described you'd expect development to move at a quicker pace than some of the more complex and compound materials.

    As a kid I watched Tomorrows World and imagined solar panels on the roofs of all houses built in the future, but it didn't happen. Even now the cost appears to be prohibitive (for the benefits received). Cheap, easy to make, efficient solar cells would be the way to make that happen I suppose. Especially if they were long lasting and easy to replace. :thumbsup:

    Isn't there also an issue with storage though? Presumably you'd need a whopping great cpacitor or series of them to keep any daytime electricity for evening use?
     
  12. NedLand

    NedLand New Geek

    I am still not sure how effective is solar roads project.It seems very complicated and effective..Any country implementing the concept of solar roads?
     
  13. NedLand

    NedLand New Geek

    Any answers?
     
  14. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
    No I think it is still at the experimental stage
     
  15. sidevalve

    sidevalve Well-Known Geek

    Sorry but pie in the sky for 99% of places anyway
    1 - roads are lifted/buckled,twisted now by heavy traffic usage, underground water seepage [not to mention water pipes failing] and the sheer power of ice expansion in any joints. How will this surface cope ?
    2 - having worked on highways I came confirm that roads, unless VERY regularly swept will silt up in a matter of months, weeks in some cases. The sheer amount of tyre rubber dust/slurry is awesome. Again not including tons of autumn leaves/seeds etc.
    3 - glass or plastic of any sort will scratch and become quickly opaque when subjected to the constant friction of thousands of road wheels [TBH it will do it simply when faced with windblown grit].
    4 - finally, non skid ? Great but how. Remember ALL the following surfaces have been tried before - tarmac, wood blocks, stone blocks, concrete even steel grids and all of them fail. They all become slippery [at least when wet] after a period of use
    As for access and removal of power lines well most overhead lines carry far greater voltages than this sort of thing could handle. It will have to be easily removed for access to gas and water pipes AND easy to replace properly.
    Would it work somewhere where there is virtually no traffic and constant sun - maybe but would it be of any use there ?
     
    amusicsite likes this.
  16. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  17. beanz

    beanz Staff Member Staff Member

    Only yesterday I commented to Mrs Beanz that we hadn't seen anyone locally having it installed for many months now - new installations around these parts seem to have stalled. Certainly not something we are looking into for the forseeable.

    One day, you will pop to the hardware store and buy a can of colourless solar cell paint. Back home, paint in onto any suitable surface, connect it up somehow and 'bingo' - free electricity. And if/when it gets weather damaged or it starts to lose efficiency over time, just buy a fresh tin and recoat.
     
    classic33 likes this.
  18. Funnily enough, I was crossing a bridge over the east-west aligned local stretch of the Rochdale canal yesterday and looked down at a narrow boat moored below. Its entire roof was covered in solar panels angled to face the sun in the south. It seemed like a good idea, given where they were, facing across our park. If they were 500 metres further west, they would have had a whacking big hill blocking the sun.
     
  19. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK
  20. amusicsite

    amusicsite dn ʎɐʍ sᴉɥ┴ Staff Member

    Location:
    UK