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Energy related question.

  1. Jan 5, 2009 #1
    I'm working on a protoype that uses energy from the sun (PV cells) to convert potential energy into electrical energy .
    This is the basic structure.
    A weight is initially attached to the chain. (The chain can only hold 12 pounds) The motor(s) drive the weight up during the day and then after being sensed at the highest position by sensors, the weight falls down driving a motor an thus producing electricity.
    I rather seem to have a few problems increasing or maximizing the system's efficiency.
    Can anyone shed any light towards that direction because I really need to have this project finished before tomorrow.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 5, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    What's the problem?

    Have you calculated the amount of energy you'll be able to get out of the system overnight? And have you factored into this the losses which you will endure from friction in whatever gearing mechanism you're using?
  4. Jan 5, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    This seems like something that should provide a pretty good energy storage efficiency. Please explain more about the problem you are having...
  5. Jan 5, 2009 #4
    Nothing like wait until the last minute.

    I'm going to take a shot in the dark and say that your problem is the electrical machine not being able to operate efficiently in motor mode and generator mode. What makes a good motor, does not make a good generator. The solution is to have one machine working as a motor, and one machine working as a generator.
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