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View Diary: The future of power generation (188 comments)

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  •  Nanotechnology (none)
    In RunningOnEmpty2 at yahoogroups.com, "John"
    wrote:

    Molecular Manufacturing or nanotechnology as it is known, may provide us with some viable alternatives to our declinig fossil fuels. See info posted on the Center For Responsible Nanotechnology's website for info....

    http://www.crnano.org/benefits.htm

    When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

    by lawnorder on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 08:09:38 PM PDT

    •  Nanotech makes solar energy feasible. (none)
           The main source of power today is the burning of carbon-containing fuels. This is generally inefficient, frequently non-renewable, and dumps carbon dioxide and other waste products (including radioactive substances from coal) into the atmosphere. Solar energy would be feasible in most areas of the globe if manufacturing and land were sufficiently cheap and energy storage were sufficiently effective. Solar electricity generation depends on either photovoltaic conversion, or concentrating direct sunlight. The former works, although with reduced efficiency, on cloudy days; the latter can be accomplished without semiconductors. In either case, not much material is required, and mechanical designs can be made simple and fairly easy to maintain. Sun-tracking designs can benefit from cheap computers and compact actuators. Energy can be stored efficiently for several days in relatively large flywheels built of thin diamond and weighted with water. Smaller energy storage systems can be built with diamond springs, providing a power density similar to chemical fuel storage and much higher than today's batteries. Water electrolysis and recombination provide scalable, storable, transportable energy. However, there is some cost in efficiency and in complexity of technology to deal safely with large-scale hydrogen storage or transportation.
            Solar solutions can be implemented on an individual, village, or national scale. The energy of direct sunlight is approximately 1 kW per square meter. Dividing that by 10 to account for nighttime, cloudy days, and system inefficiencies, present-day American power demands (about 10 kW per person) would require about 100 square meters of collector surface per person. Multiplying this figure by a population of 325 million (estimated by the US Census Bureau for 2020) yields a requirement for approximately 12,500 square miles of area to be covered with solar collectors. This represents 0.35% of total US land surface area. Much of this could be implemented on rooftops, and conceivably even on road surfaces.

      When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

      by lawnorder on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 08:11:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like solar, but... (none)
        the above numbers are a bit optimistic.  The typical efficiency for cells produced in high volume is closer to 10 or 12 percent, so you really want to divide the insolation by 30 or 40 to get the final output number if solar is the only technology on your plate.

        That said, one of solar's many virtues is that it produces maximum energy when the US has peak demand, so you don't really need to store solar electric power if it's part of a well-balanced energy mix.

        •  produced in high volume at current factories (none)
          Nanotech may be able to allow us to get more purified cristals cheaper.

          The highly purified solar panels get a lot more than 10- 12% but their manufacturing costs are prohibitive. Nanotech can solve that.

          When morality is only about sex, no aspect of war - even the killing of entire families - can arouse criticism, much less condemnation.

          by lawnorder on Sun Jul 10, 2005 at 09:43:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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