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Here's an encouraging article on solar collector projet at an Israeli Kibbutz to send best wishes to our Jewish readers who are celebrating Yom Kipper, tonight, - the Day of Atonement.  What more appropriate day to read about Physicist David Faimain, who wishes to help Israel overcome dependence on Arab oil, and CO2 emission by accelerating the conversion to renewable solar energy -- reaching a goal of generating 10% of Israel's electrical needs with Solar by 2020.

David Sheen, of Haaretz, tells us the story of David Faiman,  a professor of physics at Ben-Gurion University's Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and chair of the Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics, who is a 'Born-again Zionist' revolutionizing solar energy field, by using mirrors arranged in a parabolic curve to concentrate the sun rays on a much smaller solar photovoltaic collector, thereby minimizing "the economic and environmental cost of producing solar power, one of the biggest barriers to the field's development."

Photobucket
Photo by: Ilan Assayag

Recently, Kvutzat Yavneh, a kibbutz east of Ashdod, adopted a new solar technology inspired by Faiman's ideas. ... Today, Faiman is at the forefront of developing the next generation of renewable energy systems, certain that Israel must turn to solar solutions. "I like to think that our grandchildren will find it hard to believe that we lived in a world in which electricity was not generated mainly from solar energy," says Faiman.

Israel now consumes 60 billion kiloWatt hour per year of electricity, and Faiman expects this to rise to 80 billion kiloWatt hours per year by 2020. The rate of solar installation will need to increase dramatically to meet this goal.  

Faiman calls this curved mirror approach 'combined heat and power,' or CHP.  He prevents the collector wafer from burning by running water over it which supplies all the hot water for the kibbutz, and enables the collector to operate at 70% efficiency, rather than the average of 10 to 15 per cent for traditional PV panels. My presumption is that this 70% number is achieved by counting the generation per square inch of just the collector, not the whole mirror array.

Photobucket

Prof. David Faiman in front of his solar panels at the National at Side Boker. Photo Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Although collection surfaces must be large, in order to catch as many solar rays as possible, Faiman realized that the "wafers" which convert these solar rays into electricity needn't be. By bending the panel into a parabolic dish and re-focusing all the sun's rays onto a small receiver only one-thousandth the size of the dish, Faiman's model minimizes the size of the most economically and ecologically expensive component of the panel.

Ordinarily, focusing so much solar energy onto a such a small area would burn the solar converter, rendering it useless. But Faiman hit upon another idea to turn that liability into an advantage. By running water or some other liquid over the solar converter, the radiated surfaces are cooled down to manageable levels. The heat energy absorbed by that liquid is then transferred to water stored in large tanks, making it unnecessary to use electricity or burn fossil fuels to heat running water.

Most importantly for most people, the CHP panels will soon be able to produce energy at parity with conventional energy sources, say Segev (Faiman's partner) "If we get these machines at mass production - not millions of machines, but rather at a rate of 500 to 1000 units a month - they would generate energy at less than 10 cents U.S. per kiloWatt hour."

Now if we can get the whole world to atone for our dependence on fossil fuels which dumps an enormous amount of pollution into our atmosphere, including CO2, which causes global warming, the world will be a much better place for our children and grandchildren.

Let's not keep repeating the mistakes of our past.

And, for our Jewish readers, G'mar Hatimah Tovah

6:06 PM PT: Joe Buck tells me that this parabollic mirror approach has been used before, so the word "breakthrough" may be a bit over the tip.  I had already modified this from "revolutionize" in the Haaretz article.  Sorry.  I will try to a more careful writer in this next year.   This last year I've been working on spell checking, which you have to admit I've made progress on, at least in post, if not comments.  Cheers.


9:17 PM PT: I had multiple windows of this article open in my new FireFox browser so when I made a recent spelling correction the update reintroduced the errors I had corrected in the first version.  Sorry.  

Originally posted to Kosowatt on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 05:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by SciTech and Nuclear Free DK.

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Comment Preferences

  •  It's a promising approach but not new (12+ / 0-)

    A bit of Googling will find quite a number of projects already in place that use parabolic mirrors both for direct heating and to feed a concentrated light source to photovoltaic cells, as well as a number of companies who are selling this technology today.

    •  Yikes, I guess I followed the enthusiam of the (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jobobo, KenBee, alizard, Lujane, yaque

      Haaretz article too closefly.

      I'll make an update note of thie Joe Buck.  Thanks for the heads up.  I should have checked this more carefully.

      One additional thing to atone for.

      Thanks.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:04:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've seen many curved concentrating mirror (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee, alizard, Lujane, yaque

      collectors for thermal generation -- but have you seen them used to focus on the Photovoltaic wafers?   I've thought of it before but the heat generation would burn a normal chip.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:11:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but they don't use normal wafers for that (6+ / 0-)

        In concentrating applications, the PV panels are sturdier (and more expensive).

        One problem is that as the temperature goes up, efficiency goes down ... but it looks like they're taking care of that with the water.

        ‎"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion." - Thomas Paine

        by jobobo on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:24:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Water Cooling The Real Innovation? (0+ / 0-)

          The idea of using cooling water to reduce the wafer operating temperature seems to be the real innovation in this application.  The second idea of using the waste cooling water for other heating purposes seems to be a truly good innovation.  One wonders if alternative wafer materials needing very high insolation levels to function effectively might use all of the features this design team are contemplating to score some really major leaps in technology.

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 08:33:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm taking the solar plunge! (10+ / 0-)

    I'll be signing a lease contract next week for a 6.9 kWh solar PV array using Sunpower panels to be installed on my flat roof here in Phoenix. The lease is for 20 years and includes a buyout provision after year 6 or at the lease end. Cost: about a buck a watt. The savings here in Phoenix will be at least $1500 a year compared to my existing electric bills. I already have HOA approval and my application for the utility rebate - which goes to the leasing company - has been approved. I can hardly wait!

    Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

    by Ian S on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:41:33 PM PDT

    •  To emphasize: 'savings here in Phoenix...' (6+ / 0-)
      savings here in Phoenix will be at least $1500 a year
      and that's savings after lease payments?

      This is a great development in solar, leases, making it possible for 'power companies' (ie leasing companies) to install power generation capacity:
      * all over where appropriate
      * near the loads/end users (no or little distribution impact)
      * decentralizes such a main society need: energy
      * reduces the mass pollution from carbon fuel sources

      what'd I miss? probably dozens of items  :>

      We can remove even more crapped put nukes, coal, dams...I love it when utilities, faced with federal demands to reduce pollution close and dismantle rather than upgrade...hopefully meaning when upgrades are made, they work and make sense..short term....rather than old crummy plants get patched up, bribes are paid, arms are twisted...ask me how I know..I don't, i'm guessing :>

      Keep us updated IanS, good stuff.

      ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

      by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:19:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's a prepaid lease... (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, Lujane, HoundDog, KenBee, yaque

        so there's an initial payment of about $6800.00 or a buck a watt and that's it. No monthly payments ever again. At the end of the lease I can buy it at "fair market value" or they will remove it at no cost. That initial payment will be recouped within five years then it's all gravy. I can buy it after year 6 for another $900 if I want. If I stick with the lease they provide repairs and insurance at no cost to me for the entire 20 years. It's an incredible deal made possible by federal, state and utility incentives. The lessor also gets the advantage of rapid depreciation which is why a prepaid lease can be cheaper than buying for individual homeowners.

        Just another faggity fag socialist fuckstick homosinner!

        by Ian S on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 10:03:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  wow, that's great, that will facilitate lots! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          yaque, HoundDog

          I can't wait for the boo birds, but so far.....

          How much if you stick with the lease? Nothing?

          But if you buy you get whatever feedin pittance the utility pays, if any, and still get the essential savings and at that point some depreciation....or they maintain (whatever that means) and replace...but say in 10 years the way things are going is there free upgrades and if the tax and feedin tariffs change, and change they must, can these terms be renegotiated?  efficiencies improve, feedin tariffs get better, you may have a 12000watt setup instead, here's hoping.

          questions questions...

          So tomorrow I am seeing my farmer brother, and I will ask him all about the economics of solar farming, he's fundie but not totally stupid, and always on top of business, so we'll see...they have miles of roadway edge and unused plots in Palm Springs area, heck, put solar installations on trailers and move them when you want :>, just have to get the rates up and there will be so many right wingers signing up, when it makes financial short term sense..I can just imagine the utility company worrying about too much solar from too many sources, heh.

          Problems we want.

          ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

          by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 11:33:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  So Aside From Heat and Cooling Issues, Is There (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, jobobo, KenBee, Lujane, yaque

    a light intensity at which the gains begin to drop off?

    Seems that there must be; but from the photo, the amount of concentration looks like it's pretty spectacular.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 06:42:06 PM PDT

  •  Efficiency based on the wafer size (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, KenBee, Lujane, yaque

    It's an interesting question whether you can derive a percent efficiency based on the area of the actual solar panel, when the sunlight is falling on a larger collection area.

    I guess it's a reasonable index because presumably the panel is the big cost driver, so whatever you do to generate more energy per square inch of panel is fair game.

    •  I agree James. However, I think it is appropriate (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells, KenBee, Lujane, yaque

      to clarify this, because as far as I can tell, this is technically different efficiency measure than the ones that we are used to.

      Yes, since the PV itself is the most expensive compenent, improving the electricity generated per sq inch of water is an important improvement.

      But, it is not the same thing as the competion on conversion abilty per sq inch of the three major PV technologies, the best of which is just over 20%.  So those that have been following improvement from 10% by half-percent intervals  over the last decade should not confuse this 70% number with the numbers we've been watching, and will be critical in determining if First Solar can stay in competition with the silicon wafer tech used by many Chinese manufacturers.

      At least, this is my understanding now.  

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 07:15:24 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wafer aside, there seems to be the production (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly, HoundDog, Lujane, yaque

        and maintenance costs being figured in..we've seen installed giant units of various designs, these are smaller, maintenance issues have costs, installation costs are less per units x more units...an interesting mix, the scale of these is very backyard small operator and can be scaled.  In googling you can see many home soul projects with backyard engineered solar tracking devices, panels, concentrators etc.

        Running the hot water is an additional wrinkle that would be well received by home installers and imagineers.

        Good to see these produced as opposed to lab rat prototypes.

        (I should probably read your source matl now...:>)

        maybe they'll tell how they prevent coolant loss from adjacent units when the inevitable vandal/ground squirrel/stray bullet takes one out..and with coolant loss, what happens: boom? Fire? auto shutdown (I'd bet)

        ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

        by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:29:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Has anyone found a solar system that works well (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KenBee, HoundDog, Lujane

    in Western Washington yet?

    •  Let's hear from our readers. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lujane

      Thanks for commenting here Christy1947.

      I've been following your comments with much interest over the last few months.

      You seem to have a well informed, and balanced viewpoint on many subjects that is always intelligent.

      Cheers.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:49:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  A couple more decades of global warming and it (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog, alizard, Lujane, yaque

      will work just fine.

      As it is now the panels just get covered with moss.

      Seriously you can use solar panels in Western Washington but they not going to be as productive as they would on the other side of the Cascades.  It will take longer to recover your costs.

      I believe that Germany has a lot of installed solar systems and I don't think their weather would be confused with California.

      •  That's why I asked. I would prefer local but (0+ / 0-)

        there has to be something that works north of Bakersfield forit to be worth doing here. Who knows about what Germany and that part of northern and central Europe is doing, and would they please post it.

  •  spelit how ya want dog (6+ / 0-)

    we can deal..:>

      Very interesting and thanks for it..I love the hope:

    Most importantly for most people, the CHP panels will soon be able to produce energy at parity with conventional energy sources, say Segev (Faiman's partner) "If we get these machines at mass production - not millions of machines, but rather at a rate of 500 to 1000 units a month - they would generate energy at less than 10 cents U.S. per kiloWatt hour."

    Well, here's to hope: Salute!

    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:11:03 PM PDT

    •  Thanks KenBee but can you believe I mispelled (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Lujane, KenBee

      Yom Kippur in the first version of this, while I was bragging about my improvement?  

      My spell checker must have thought Yom was a brand of kippered snacks.

      gak!

      Well, thanks for your good humored tolerance for diversity.

      The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

      by HoundDog on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:53:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another Israeli Solar Concentrator System (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, fizziks, Larsstephens, Lujane, yaque

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:33:08 PM PDT

  •  at your link, and SOOO appropriate somehow (4+ / 0-)

    'breaking news' at the top right now...

    Two bombs hit Iraq Rumaila oil pipelines, says official (Reuters)

    ah, hello, world, is this thing on?(bonkbonk)

    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:34:55 PM PDT

  •  He WAS a nuclear physicist at CERN (7+ / 0-)
     

    Faiman specialized in nuclear physics and worked for CERN - the European Organization for Nuclear Research,

     Today, Faiman is at the forefront of developing the next generation of renewable energy systems, certain that Israel must turn to solar solutions. "I like to think that our grandchildren will find it hard to believe that we lived in a world in which electricity was not generated mainly from solar energy," says Faiman. "Just as my own grandfather, who was born in Russia in 1872, once expressed amazement to me that most people no longer know how to ride a horse."

    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:39:00 PM PDT

  •  along with the pipeline bombing, (7+ / 0-)

    he says this:

    In the current economic climate, it may prove difficult to convince government officials to invest in long term renewable energy infrastructure for the country. It may take a public education campaign to create a shift in consciousness and a groundswell of support for Faiman's plan. "We pay taxes, and out of our taxes, things which are perceived as being the common good are paid for, such as roads and schools and defense, you name it, all of the things that enable life to be tolerable," says Faiman. "If energy independence were to be considered a public good or a national strategic priority, then it could be paid for with our taxes."

    Take That!

    to the bank!

    once again:

    "If energy independence were to be considered a public good or a national strategic priority, then it could be paid for with our taxes.

    dam skippy!

    yet here in the US we have crummy rates paid by the 'public?' utilities for energy we feed back into the grid..in Germany people have said here it's mandated they pay 150% of the base rate back to the customer-producer.

    ..squinting all the while in the glare of a culture that radiates ultraviolet consumerism and infrared celebrity...Russell Brand

    by KenBee on Fri Oct 07, 2011 at 08:45:01 PM PDT

  •  Wow. Yet another solar miracle!!!! (0+ / 0-)

    We're saved.

    But, um, then again...

    How come 50 years of cheering for stuff like this hasn't produced even one exajoule of energy out of the 500 exajoules of energy consumed by humanity?

    At the very best, solar is a marginal niche form of energy.

    At its worst, it is an expensive and nearly useless straw at which people grasp somewhat mindlessly and which generates far more complacency and denial than energy.

    If the solar industry could support the servers dedicated to reporting how great the solar industry is, that would make it a neutral thing, but I don't think it can do so.

      •  I consistently and always oppose all (0+ / 0-)

        forms of dangerous fossil fuel energy.

        I've written many diaries in this faith based space on this and feel no need to apologize for my energy positions.

        The idea that solar is an alternative to oil is ridiculous on its face.

        The only scalable form of energy that has an acceptably low external cost profile is nuclear energy, but fear, superstition and ignorance prevents from doing what it could do.

        For the record, I oppose the car CULTure as well, which actually has something to do with oil.

        Solar energy is a grotesque failure, an expensive failure, but even were it a success it would have little or nothing to do with oil.    That said, some of the wishful thinking about solar energy, particularly the form involved with the failed and meaningless solar thermal schemes, have lead to research that might have done something in a rational world.

        But we do not live in a rational world.

        Have a nice day.

        •  You are incorrect about scalability. Scientific (0+ / 0-)

          American produced a scenario over 2 year ago before the 50% cost reductions and dramatic energy increases that demonstrate the feasibility of converting the entire world electrical needs to solar and other alternative energy by 2030.  

          Meteor Blades has also been the guardian of a second completely different source from one of the international energy agencies confirming the same thing.  I have it on my PC someplace.

          I guess during his absence I should probably pull it up to keep it available.

          Given the 13 year current delay in building nukes, and their inability to compete financially in the private market, as well as the 10 year backlog in casting any additional containment vessels nuclear is unable to compete in much additional expansion even with the rapidly escalating political issues.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 03:33:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well ... if that's the case (0+ / 0-)

            Scientific American is the premier journal of peer-reviewed scientific literature, isn't it? Who wouldn't believe a periodical that was wise enough to brand itself with the two magic words: "scientific" and "American"?

            No, wait ... that's bullshit, as is the article that you have referenced.

            If you choose to believe a "scenario" because a pop. science rag on the skids decides to publish a story about it, then that's your problem. Please refrain, however, from calling anyone "incorrect" because of it.

            BTW, there is only one International Energy Agency, not multiples. Don't you know anything?

            Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
            -- Albert Einstein

            by bryfry on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:35:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The US department of Interior has approve of over (0+ / 0-)

          3 gigawatts of solar generation farms on federal lands alone.

          I believe the latest estimate is the installed capacity of just the global BC capacity will exceed 50 gigawatts of installed capacity by the end of 2012 alone, with 17 gigawatts additional this year.

          At a compounding rate of about 75% per year.  

          I.e Scalability.

          Exponential scalability in the real data much faster than assumed in the Scientific American, and International Energy Agency's scenarios, I believe.

          The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

          by HoundDog on Sat Oct 08, 2011 at 03:40:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  You're a treasure. n/t (0+ / 0-)


    "Whatever you do, don't mention The War." Basil Fawlty, while mentally impaired.

    by Jim P on Sun Oct 09, 2011 at 01:06:50 AM PDT

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