Hydro Power is Actually Solar Power

  • #1
Hydroelectric power, effected usually by damming a river, is ordinary considered an example of energy produced by gravitational potential.

However, from an ultimate perspective, hydro power is actually an example of solar power.

Water must drop to a lower gravitational potential to extract energy, and this drop occurs as a river flows downward. But to keep the dam working indefinitely water must also continuously be elevated, or raised, in potential. This elevation of water occurs via solar heating. The sun vaporizes
water and this water vapor will later condense as rain or snow at higher elevations. Without this continual elevation of large amounts of water to a higher gravitational potential hydroelectric power would not be possible.

This issue may not seem greatly significant but it's always a good idea to try to understand things from different perspectives.
 

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  • #2
Vanadium 50
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By that definition, all power is either nuclear or solar.
 
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  • #3
davenn
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Hydroelectric power, effected usually by damming a river, is ordinary considered an example of energy produced by gravitational potential.

However, from an ultimate perspective, hydro power is actually an example of solar power.


But we really are not worried about the origins, only the immediate form of energy generation
aka hydro generation

your idea could be used to describe many forms of energy generation ….
wind turbines and tidal to name a couple more.

see if you can come up with any others


Dave
 
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  • #4
phyzguy
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By that definition, all power is either nuclear or solar.
Which means it's all nuclear, since that's what powers the sun.
 
  • #5
A.T.
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By that definition, all power is either nuclear or solar.
What about tidal power?
 
  • #6
davenn
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What about tidal power?

I mentioned that along with wind ... caused by the sun in one form or another
(well some moon as well for the tides)
 
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  • #7
davenn
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Which means it's all nuclear, since that's what powers the sun.


checkmate 😉
 
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  • #8
Which means it's all nuclear, since that's what powers the sun.

Is that correct?

The nuclear fusion within the sun is caused by gravitational collapse. So it seems that, ultimately, it is gravity that powers everything.
 
  • #10
Geothermal energy is also not based on Solar. Tidal power is based on the potential energy of Earth Moon ecosystem.
 
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  • #11
JBA
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Geothermal energy is also not based on Solar. Tidal power is based on the potential energy of Earth Moon ecosystem.
But ultimately by gravity.
 
  • #12
cjl
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No it isn't.
It kind of is. Gravitational collapse is the reason the core reached the heat and pressure required for fusion ignition, and is continuing to increase the pressure and temperature in the core (increasing the output of the sun) as the core density increases due to the accumulation of helium. It's not the direct source of the energy coming out of the sun, but it is indirectly responsible.
 
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  • #13
russ_watters
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It kind of is. Gravitational collapse is the reason the core reached the heat and pressure required for fusion ignition, and is continuing to increase the pressure and temperature in the core (increasing the output of the sun) as the core density increases due to the accumulation of helium. It's not the direct source of the energy coming out of the sun, but it is indirectly responsible.
It can be said to provide activation energy, but that's like saying the blasting cap is the energy source instead of the dynamite. It might be interesting to try and figure out what fraction of the energy that is though...
 
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  • #14
Ibix
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It might be interesting to try and figure out what fraction of the energy that is though...
About one part in a million, from memory. A serious early argument against Darwin was that the Sun was assumed to be radiating its gravitational potential energy and therefore couldn't be much over 10,000 years old. Compare its expected ten billion year lifetime when you factor in fusion.

I may be off by an order of magnitude
 
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  • #15
gmax137
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Geothermal energy is also not based on Solar.
Another nuclear source, right? Isn't the geothermal heat provided by decay of radionuclides in the mantle?
 
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  • #16
Vanadium 50
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Isn't the geothermal heat provided by decay of radionuclides in the mantle?

That's what I thought.
 
  • #17
That was one of the big arguments between Lord William Thompson Kelvin and Charles Darwin.
According to Kelvin the source of Solar energy was due to Gravitational contraction. Because of that he kept the age of Sun and Earth to be around 20-100 Million Years. Where as on the first version of "On the origin of species", Darwin said that evolution took more than 300 Million years. Kelvin vehemently opposed it because the Sun was only 20 Million years old. Anyway for the 2nd edition of the book, Darwin avoided the problem by not giving any real number of years. :)

About one part in a million, from memory. A serious early argument against Darwin was that the Sun was assumed to be radiating its gravitational potential energy and therefore couldn't be much over 10,000 years old. Compare its expected ten billion year lifetime when you factor in fusion.

I may be off by an order of magnitude
 

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