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In today’s world we mostly understand the effects of global warming. This understanding has lead to the production of greener technology and greener power sources. This is all fine and dandy but there is an essential area that we are clearly missing in the “greenafacation” for the new technological world. What does it matter if your laptop uses one fourth of the energy of the older models if the way you power you computer is not energy efficient. Well, you might say that you are using solar energy or wind power. This is not what I mean. What I am talking about is the transfer of the power from the source to the product that will be using the power. At the moment, on average, there is 7.2% of energy “lost” in the transferring of energy by the time that it reaches your computer that you are reading this on.  This 7.2% does not just apply to your computer, but all electronics. This is something that may not seem like much, but if you think about the amount of energy we use every day then you may get an idea of just how much 7.2% acctualy may be.
At the moment, we can transfer energy through the air. Actually, we have been able to do this at least on small scale since the 19th century. This technology has come a long way from then and now we are able to send electricity across the nation wirelessly but it has not been put into place yet. There is a plan in the workings for solar farms in space, which would be able to collect solar energy 24/7 and beam the electricity down to local stations to be delivered to your computer at a much more efficient rate than the method which is currently used.  If we were to do this, then it would increase the energy efficiency of all electronic products that run off of power transferred this way.
 I could not find the exact percent of how much electricity is “lost” through beaming transition of power. But even if the amount of lost electricity only decreases by 3% then every powered device on the planet that is powered through this would be 3% more efficient causing a huge difference in the long run.
This is an important part of our switching to a “Greener” Earth that at the moment we are missing. We must do everything we can to save our fragile planet. It is good that we are putting up wind farms, solar farms, and all of that good stuff that makes sustainable power but we must show the government that we also need to make alterations to the way in which our power is transferred.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The losses would be enormous (6+ / 0-)

    but they're compensated by free fuel (sunlight) and the ability to build huge collecting structures cheaply in zero gravity.

    You're radiating power, and the ratio of power received to power transmitted (efficiency) varies with the inverse square of the distance. Geosynchronous orbit is at about 26,000 miles. (See, for example, Friis transmision equation)

    You'd still need a single collection point per collector, and wires to distribute power on earth, with the same kinds of losses as at present.

    It's never too late to have a happy childhood - Tom Robbins

    by badger on Thu May 03, 2012 at 11:47:27 PM PDT

    •  Great ideas but the utilities want their mo rent. (0+ / 0-)

      Unfortunately, they also OWN OUR POLITICIANS.

      We CAN do wonderous things... get the greed out of our politicial system so we can clean up our own messes.

      The Great Work now… is to carry out the transition from a period of human devastation of the Earth to a period where humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner.  
                      --Thomas Berry
  •  If we're only losing 7% now, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    that would mean we're using 93% of the available energy, so being "much" more efficient than that wouldn't seem to be possible.

    There is a movement towards recharging various electronic items wirelessly these days instead of having a power supply for each thing. This would cut down on the number of power cords in one's life, but I think it means less efficiency rather than greater because such systems would probably induce electric currents in various extraneous conductors around your house or office as well as in the systems you're trying to get the power to.

    Space power beaming systems might have the same kind of energy losses, plus others. I've seen a number of proposals over the years, mainly based on microwaves. One system would have used lasers with either pv "solar" cell receivers or a heat engine powered by the laser. Either way there would be tremendous energy losses. Microwaves would be much better but still not perfect by a long shot, plus there are other hazards with microwaves.

    Moderation in most things.

    by billmosby on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:49:12 AM PDT

  •  Get real (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigjacbigjacbigjac

    Total annual world energy consumption:

    132,000,000,000,000,000 Watt Hours

    Beamed energy fantasies, and other magical thinking will make NO difference in the magnitude of the problem we face.

    The problem -- the we are totally f****d if we don't do something fast problem:

    Even if we convert all our energy consumption to the most efficient, least polluting system possible, the earth's ecology will be able to support only about 1/4 of today's population on a sustainable basis.  Today's 7+ billion is only possible because of the huge input of energy from fossil fuels, which is as we are finding out destroying the planet.  Today we are living in a short-term fools' paradise.

    A new balance will be found.  The only question is: Will we do it peacefully and sensibly?  Or will "mother nature" do it brutally to us?

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Fri May 04, 2012 at 03:53:06 AM PDT

    •  My dear boatwright, I'm not certain of your (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      boatwright

      numbers,
      but I certainly agree
      with the general spirit of your comment.

      Please read my long comment above,
      and maybe add your warm welcome
      to our new Daily Kos member,
      the diarist of this piece.

      Thanks again for your comment.

      •  The number is... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bigjacbigjacbigjac

        ...132,000 Twh (Terrawatt hours).  

        We average 15 Twh total consumption, 24 hours/day, 365 days/year.

        15 x 24 x 365 = 131,400

        I put it up with all the zeros for dramatic effect.   Converted to oil or coal, the measurements are in billions of tons.  In short these are HUGE numbers.

        Unfortunately, the average person finds it hard to conceive what this means relative to the capacity of natural systems to deliver these amounts of energy to an ever-growing population, more hungry every day for the goods and services of our "advanced" civilization.  Visualize 200 billion light-bulbs burning 24 hours/day.

        I imagine historians a century from now will be substituting the word "foolish" for "advanced".

        And a warm welcome to our newest diarist.  The debate here is often heated, but we try to keep it friendly and focused on a reasoned argument.

        Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

        by boatwright on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:02:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Correction/ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bigjacbigjacbigjac

          15 Tw NOT 15 Twh

          A watt is the moment by moment measure of the energy flow.

          A watt-hour is the measurement of TOTAL energy over time.

          Tw is 1 Trillion watts.  

          15 Tw is the amount the human race is using at the average moment.  This is for all energy (electricity, transportation, heating, cooling,  etc. converted to watts (which we usually use for electricity) for convenience of discussion.  No matter what the unit of measurement, whether it be watts, Joules, BTU's, calories, etc., energy is always equivalent and convertible from one measurement unit to another.

          Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

          by boatwright on Fri May 04, 2012 at 06:19:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  My dear brenn, it seems to me that the (3+ / 0-)

    missing link
    in the fight on global warming
    is overpopulation.

    Certain things about your diary made me curious,
    curious about you.

    So,
    I clicked on your list of diaries,
    and found that this is your first,
    and you just joined Daily Kos
    on April 18th.

    Let me be the first to say,
    welcome!

    Please do to me
    what I just did to you,
    that is,
    please click on my username,
    and click on (list)
    when you see my diaries.

    And look at my profile.

    You will see that I joined nearly six years ago,
    and I've written many diaries.

    Please scroll down,
    until you get to my diary entitled,
    "Do No Read This Diary".

    The punchline to that title is,
    please read the numerous links
    found in that diary.

    In other words,
    if you don't believe me,
    read what many others have written,
    about overpopulation.

    One of those links,
    if I recall correctly,
    points out that the most cost effective means
    of reducing greenhouse gasses
    is contraception.

    The most cost effective,
    by far.

    And the only way,
    in the long run.

    Anyway,
    once again,
    welcome.

    And please,
    if you only take one point of advice from me,
    as a veteran Daily Kos user
    to a newcomer,
    when you feel at a loss to understand what you're reading,
    if you want to know where your fellow blogger
    is coming from,
    please click on that blogger's username,
    and read the profile,
    and click on (list) on the diaries page.

    Then,
    read one or two diaries,
    and the ensuing comment threads.

    Then,
    you might know a great deal more than you did
    about that particular blogger.

    By the way,
    if you like free verse poetry,
    for the last year or two,
    I've been writing everything I write here
    in free verse,
    as you can see.

    (This style,
    breaking everything up into short phrases,
    is called free verse.)

    One of my most recent diaries,
    Love poem for Tonia,
    is one I feel good about.

    I wrote about the practical,
    and the passionate,
    in my new marriage to my new bride.

    Once again,
    welcome.

    Oh,
    I almost forgot,
    I truly do not know exactly what technology you were writing about.

    I could look it up,
    but I need to get to bed.

    People really like it
    when you put links and quotes in your diaries,
    so that other sources
    can explain what you're writing about.
    (That's why I wrote the do- not- read- this- diary-,
    read- the- links- instead diary.)

  •  Wireless is less efficient than wired. Period. (5+ / 0-)

    Wireless transmission of power is almost always going to be less efficient than wired. Period. End of Story.

    They are experimenting with wireless recharging of small electronics and even electric vehicles, with an air-gap between several millimeters and several inches. Efficiency across that gap is turning out to be something above 90%, which is really quite good. But efficiency of a physical wire, a solid metal conductor wrapped in insulation, over that same distance is something close to 99.999%.

    The only reason to go for wireless is that it's more convenient when you can afford to be wasteful. Energy from space would almost have to be wireless, but you're gonna have plenty of power to waste at that point, so you can afford to take a hit on efficiency.

  •  Radiating people with microwaves, not good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billmosby, Russgirl

    Stick your head in the microwave and get a feel for the potential disaster.  It is technically extremely difficult to focus a microwave beam to a small target, especially when the atmosphere will disperse that beam.

    Way to star trekky.  Put the solar panels on your roof and save the transmission losses.

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