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# Pickens Plan -alternative energy

by taylaron
Tags: alternative, energy, pickens, plan
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by Alfi Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution ???? ScienceDaily (Aug. 1, 2008) — In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine.
This is very big deal if it holds up. Appears Nyocera et al have done this using common materials.
In Situ Formation of an Oxygen-Evolving Catalyst in Neutral Water Containing Phosphate and Co2+
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/1162018

DANIEL NOCERA PROFILE:
Hydrogen Economy? Let Sunlight Do the Work
http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/315/5813/789
(subscription reqd)
 P: 1,672 Being its MIT, I wouldn't hold my breath. MIT hasn't exactly been delivering lately on their discoveries and/or research. I think the answers to our energy problems are going to come slowly from the industrial sector.
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by Topher925 Being its MIT, I wouldn't hold my breath. MIT hasn't exactly been delivering lately on their discoveries and/or research. I think the answers to our energy problems are going to come slowly from the industrial sector.
Cobalt solution with an Indium Tin electrode, electrode is not consumed. It works What's to wait for, unless you doubt what is presented in the paper?
P: 1,672
 More engineering work needs to be done to integrate the new scientific discovery into existing photovoltaic systems, but Nocera said he is confident that such systems will become a reality.
http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html

I don't really understand why they are directly relating this to solar power? Also, I have not seen any published numbers that states its efficiency. I couldn't read the paper that was linked because I dont have an account at that website. I've read industrial electrolysis can operate at up to 70% efficiency, although expensively. Can this "synthetic photosynthesis" that doesn't use sunlight, compete with that? What about solar thermolysis or thermal solar power? Its made no advancement to increasing efficiency of photovoltaic cells, so how will this cause a "solar revolution"?
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by Topher925 http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html I don't really understand why they are directly relating this to solar power? Also, I have not seen any published numbers that states its efficiency. I couldn't read the paper that was linked because I dont have an account at that website. I've read industrial electrolysis can operate at up to 70% efficiency, although expensively.
Yes, that is my understanding, and somewhere I saw this would be close to 100% efficient. I believe the solar angle is two fold: 1) It provides a more efficient way to store excess solar produced energy in the form of hydrogen which could later be dispatched as electric power via fuel cells or turbines, the pieces are there to do this now; 2) this work is a step closer to direct hydrogen production from solar radiation, i.e., they hope that direct solar radiation on the solution will cause it the H20 to disassociate.

For 1) your point about why just solar is valid, it could apply to any variable energy source. The solar hype might be explained by Nocera's statements in the press, unrelated to this work, that only solar has any hope of providing and lasting solution to the world's energy problems.
PF Gold
P: 2,993
Yes here it is:

 Dr. Nocera said human activities, in energy terms, right now are essentially a “12.8 trillion watt light bulb.” Our energy thirst will probably be 30 trillion watts, or 30 terrawatts, by 2050 with the human population heading toward 9 billion. If that energy is supplied with coal and oil, an overheated planet is almost assured, he said. Finding other options is a huge challenge, he added. To illustrate, he provided one hypothetical (and impossible) menu for getting those 18 additional terawatts without emissions from coal and oil: - Cut down every plant on Earth and make it into a fuel. You get 7 terawatts, but you need 30. And you don’t eat. - Build nuclear plants. Around 8 terawatts could be gotten from nuclear power if you built a new billion-watt plant every 1.6 days until 2050. - Take all the wind energy available close to Earth’s surface and you get 2 terawatts. - You get 1 more terawatt if you dam every other river on the planet and reach 30. As he summed up, “So no more eating, nuclear power plants all over, dead birds everywhere, and I dam every other river and I just eke out what you’ll need in 40 years.” Then he turned to the sun, his research focus, which bathes the planet in 800 terawatts of energy continually. “We only need 18 of those terawatts,” he said. But the current level of investment in pursuing that energy, he said, isn’t even close to sufficient.
P: 328
 Quote by Topher925 http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html I don't really understand why they are directly relating this to solar power? Also, I have not seen any published numbers that states its efficiency. I couldn't read the paper that was linked because I dont have an account at that website. I've read industrial electrolysis can operate at up to 70% efficiency, although expensively. Can this "synthetic photosynthesis" that doesn't use sunlight, compete with that? What about solar thermolysis or thermal solar power? Its made no advancement to increasing efficiency of photovoltaic cells, so how will this cause a "solar revolution"?
Absolute solar cell efficiency matters less than cost per watt, the goal being to get this number down to around $2 (before installation costs) that comes out to less than 10 cents per kwh amortized cost (including financing costs) PF Gold P: 2,993  Quote by BWV Absolute solar cell efficiency matters less than cost per watt, the goal being to get this number down to around$2 (before installation costs) that comes out to less than 10 cents per kwh amortized cost (including financing costs)
How do you separate PV efficiency from the output power?
HW Helper
P: 5,346
 Quote by Topher925 http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731.html I don't really understand why they are directly relating this to solar power? Also, I have not seen any published numbers that states its efficiency. I couldn't read the paper that was linked because I dont have an account at that website. I've read industrial electrolysis can operate at up to 70% efficiency, although expensively. Can this "synthetic photosynthesis" that doesn't use sunlight, compete with that? What about solar thermolysis or thermal solar power? Its made no advancement to increasing efficiency of photovoltaic cells, so how will this cause a "solar revolution"?
"Nocera's new catalyst uses phosphate, cobalt, and an electrode that creates oxygen from water. The method uses 90 percent less energy that current processes."
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science...rgy/index.html
P: 328
 Quote by mheslep How do you separate PV efficiency from the output power?
Efficiency is how much of the sun's energy gets converted into usable electricity - current silicon PV cells are around 15%. But ultimately it is cost per watt, so at some price, a technology that gets, say 7% efficiency could possibly be a better technology
 HW Helper P: 5,346 Unexplained still is the efficiency that you might expect from such a process. If you can do it for 10% of the current power can you create enough power from a fuel cell with the resulting separation to generate more electricity and perpetuate the process of separation exceeding the use of the original input of electricity? Are efficiencies then over 100%? Now that would be exciting, but of course there is a bit of a problem with thermodynamics. Why do these articles make it all seem like late night infomercials?
P: 1,672
 The method uses 90 percent less energy that current processes."
Thats more of what I was looking for. Although the article refers to the process of making O2 not H2. It states that it uses platinum just like current methods. However it did also state that the process is immune to most impurities and can be done in a glass container at standard environmental conditions which is saying a lot. Even if it is just as efficient as current methods it could possibly be a little bit cheaper.

And current solar cells that are available to the public are typically no better than 8%. The ones that operate at 15% are gallium arsenide based and are used in satellites. And of course extremely expensive.
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by Topher925 Thats more of what I was looking for. Although the article refers to the process of making O2 not H2.
Gathering the protons together has been a long time solved problem for chemists; the issue has been the other half: finding a catalyst that reorganized the O ions, hence the title of the paper.

 And current solar cells that are available to the public are typically no better than 8%. The ones that operate at 15% are gallium arsenide based and are used in satellites. And of course extremely expensive.
That information is a bit dated, according to what I can find its more like 18% now for PV silicon crystals.
Misubishi 2007: 18%
http://www.solarbuzz.com./news/NewsASPT40.htm
Kyocera 2006: 18.5%
Sunpower 2008: 23.4%
http://www.solarbuzz.com./news/NewsNATE51.htm
Sunpower does residential installation through 3rd parties and will give you an estimate online:
http://www.sunpowercorp.com/For-Home...alculator.aspx

Worldwide nameplate prices:
Lowest Mono- Crystalline Module Price $4.35/Wp Lowest Multi- Crystalline Module Price$4.17/Wp
Lowest Thin Film Module price $3.72/Wp http://www.solarbuzz.com/ The exotic ($) multi-spectral PVs used on the Mars Rover and such are 30-40% efficient.
P: 1,672
 That information is a bit dated
I guess it is....I stand corrected. I knew the inverters for solar have come a long way but I didn't know panels were so efficient now. 30-40% on the rover, that is freaken crazy! That isn't the AM0 efficiency is it?
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by Topher925 I guess it is....I stand corrected. I knew the inverters for solar have come a long way but I didn't know panels were so efficient now. 30-40% on the rover, that is freaken crazy! That isn't the AM0 efficiency is it?
No doubt it is the standard AM1.5, as I saw the Rover PV numbers compared to PV history, here:
www.nrel.gov/docs/fy07osti/42276.pdf
Slide 14,15
I also saw somewhere the Rover PVs cost millions, no telling how much of that was space qual.
PF Gold
P: 2,993
 Quote by BWV Efficiency is how much of the sun's energy gets converted into usable electricity - current silicon PV cells are around 15%. But ultimately it is cost per watt, ...
Yes and the peak wattage rating of a standard PV panel is going to be determined mostly by its efficiency. That is, a standard 3x5' PV panel used to be rated ~125W w/ maybe 8% efficiency. Now, the same size panel is rated at 315 peak Watts because it is ~20% eff.
P: 328
 Quote by mheslep Yes and the peak wattage rating of a standard PV panel is going to be determined mostly by its efficiency. That is, a standard 3x5' PV panel used to be rated ~125W w/ maybe 8% efficiency. Now, the same size panel is rated at 315 peak Watts because it is ~20% eff.

Some of the thin-film technologies are in the 7-9% efficiency range, but can be printed on a roll and do not need a semiconductor fab to manufacture them leading to dramatically lower costs. Nanosolar claims to be gearing up for \$1 /watt production.

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/...story?id=45233
HW Helper
P: 5,346
 Quote by mheslep No doubt it is the standard AM1.5, as I saw the Rover PV numbers compared to PV history, here: www.nrel.gov/docs/fy07osti/42276.pdf Slide 14,15 I also saw somewhere the Rover PVs cost millions, no telling how much of that was space qual.