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The future of solar technology

  1. Apr 14, 2005 #1
    As we all know, Solar cell technology is not widely used around the world. Moreover, it can offer powerful energy as well as reliablities that is some conditions due to cloudy days. What do you think of the future of this technology? Can it become an efficient technology so that it can replace all kinds of energy existing today?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2005 #2
    Solar energy being a renewable energy...to fullfill all mankinds need for energy..i don't think so . It'll however make an integral part of everyday life, but most likely nuclear power whether it be fission or fusion will take up a big part of todays and futures demand...
     
  4. Apr 15, 2005 #3

    Astronuc

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    Staff: Mentor

    There is certainly a future, and a number of energy/technology companies (e.g. Siemens, British Petroleum (BP) and Royal Dutch Shell) realize that, so they have invested in solar technology.

    Report - Our Solar Power Future: The U.S. Photovoltaic Industry Roadmap for 2030 and Beyond
    http://www.seia.org/media/pdfs/pvroadmap.pdf

    Also for further information, Solar Electric Power Association

    Solar Electric Power Association Utility Members by Company
    http://www.solarelectricpower.org/customer_to_member/default.cfm

    Solar Manufacturers and Distributors
    http://www.solarelectricpower.org/manufacturers_distributors/default.cfm

    Reports -
    http://www.solarelectricpower.org/publications/default.cfm

    Other solar links -
    http://www.solarelectricpower.org/links/default.cfm

    ========================================

    Reports on Solar Dynamic Power Technology

    Alexander, D., 1996, "2 kWe Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Project - Final Report, Vol III: Fabrication and Test Report", NASA CR 198423.

    Alexander, D., Feb. 1997, "2kWe Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Project", Volume I: Executive Summary, NASA CR 198423.

    Alexander, D., Feb. 1997, "2kWe Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Project", Volume II: Design Report, NASA CR 198423.

    Alexander, D., Feb. 1997, "2kWe Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Project", Volume III: Fabrication and Test Report, NASA CR 198423.

    Amundsen, P. C. and Harper, W. B., 1993, "BIPS Turboalternator-Compressor Characteristics and Application to the NASA Solar Dynamic Ground Demonstration Program", Proceedings of the 27th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 2, pp. 239-244.

    Arkhangelsky, V. I., Chvanov, V. K., Pavlov, K. A. and Samsonov, V. L., Sept. 1995, "Space Closed Brayton Power System Technique", Proceedings of the European Space Power Conference, Paris, France.

    Bahnman, D. W. and Jensen, P. A., 1994, "Design of a Solar Concentrator for the Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Program", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME,1994., pp. 193-203.

    Baker, B. C. and Voss, F. E., "Thermal/Vacuum Testing of an International Space Station Active Thermal Control System Radiator Panel."

    Brown, M. A. and Teneza, N. C., 1994, "Solar Concentrator Space Experiment", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994. pp. 235-244.

    Calogeras, J. E. and Dustin, M. O., 1992, "The Ground Testing of a 2kWe Solar Dynamic Space Power System", Proceedings of the 27th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 1, pp. 455-460.

    Campbell, J. S. and Jensen, P. A., 1994, "Design, Analysis and Test of a Solar Concentrator for Space Applications", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 205-215.

    Davis, J. M. and Wanhainen, J. S., "Solar Dynamic Power System on the International Space Station",

    De Groh, K. K., Jaworske, D. A. and Smith, D. C., 1998, "Optical Property Enhancement and Durability Evaluation of Heat Receiver Aperture Shield Materials", Proceedings of the 36th Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibit, January 12-15, 1998, NASA TM 206623.

    De Groh, K. K., Burke, C. A., Roig, D. M. and Shah, D. R., 1994, "Performance and Durability of High Emittance Heat Receiver Surfaces for Solar Dynamic Power Systems", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 251-264.

    De Groh, K. K., Roig, D. M., Burke, C. A. and Shah, D. R., 1994, "Performance and Durability of High Emittance Heat Receiver Surfaces for Solar Dynamic Power Systems", Proceedings of the 1994 ASME International Solar Energy Conference, NASA TM 106549.

    Dever, J. A., Bruckner, E. J. , Scheiman, D. A. and Stidham, C. R., 1994, "Combined Contamination and Space Environmental Effects on Solar Cells and Thermal Control Surfaces", Proceedings of the 18th AIAA Aerospace Ground Testing Conference, NASA TM 106592.

    Dobler, F. X., 1978, "Mini-BRU/BIPS 1300 Watte Dynamic Power Conversion System Development", NASA CR-159440.

    Dreshfield, R. L., 1996, "Long Time Creep Rupture of Haynesä Alloy 188", Proceedings of the Eighth International Symposium on Superalloys, NASA TM 107191.

    Dustin, M. O., et al, 1987, "Advanced Solar Dynamic Space Power Systems Perspectives, Requirements, and Technology Needs", Proceedings of the 1987 Solar Energy Conference, NASA TM 88884.

    Fincannon, J., 1995, "Analysis of Shadowing Effects on MIR Photovoltaic and Solar Dynamic Power Systems", Proceedings of the 30th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 1, pp. 461-466.

    Fleming, M. L., Flores, R. R. and Sharpe, R. R., "Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Radiator Design and Test."

    Fleming, M. L. and Flores, R. R., 1994, "Solar Dynamic Radiator Design and Development", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 245-250.

    Hall, C. A., Glakpe, E. K., Cannon, J. N. and Kerslake, T. W., 1997, "Modeling Cyclic Phase Change and Energy Storage in Solar Heat Receivers."

    Hanlon, C., "Feasibility of Demonstration Solar Dynamics on Space Station",
    AIAA-94-4199-CP.

    Harper, W. B. and Shaltens, R. K., Oct. 16, 1992, "Technical Paper: NASA Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration (GTD) Program and its Application to Space Nuclear Power", Allied Signal Report No. 41-11716.

    Huckins, E. and Ahlf, P., "Space Station Power Requirements and Issues", pp. 608-612.

    Jaworske, D. A., Jefferies, K. S. and Mason, L. S., 1996, "Alignment and Initial Operation of an Advanced Solar Simulator", Proceedings of the 34th Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibit,

    Jefferies, K. S., Ed., 1993, "Solar Dynamic Power System Development for Space Station Freedom", NASA RP1310.

    Jefferies, K. S., 1994, "Solar Simulator for Solar Dynamic Space Power System Testing", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 217-222, NASA TM 106393.

    Johnson. K. R., 1994, "The New Distributed Computerized Control System of JPL's 25-Ft Space Simulator", Proceedings of the 18th AIAA Aerospace Ground Testing Conference.

    Kerslake, T. W. and Fincannon, J., 1995, "Analysis of Solar Receiver Flux Distributions for US/Russian Solar Dynamic System Demonstration on the MIR Space Station", Proceedings of the 30th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 1, pp. 399-404.

    Kerslake, T. W. et al, 1997, "High-Flux, High-Temperature Thermal Vacuum Qualification Testing of a Solar Receiver Aperture Shield, Proceedings of the 32nd Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, NASA TM 107505.

    Krause, S., 1992, "Investigation of a New Heat-Pipe/Latent-Heat-Storage Receiver Element for Solar Dynamic Space Power Systems", Proceedings of the 27th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 2, pp. 349-357.

    Lindner, F. and Stähle, H. J., 1990, "Ceramic Canisters for Lithium Fluoride Thermal Storage Integrated With Solar Dynamic Space Power Systems", Proceedings of the 41st Congress of the International Astronautical Federation,

    Mason, L. S. and Kudija, C. T., 1994, "Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration (SD GTD) System Test Plans", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 175-184.

    Mason, L. S. et al, 1992, "SP-100 Reactor With Brayton Conversion for Lunar Surface Applications", Proceedings of the Ninth Symposium on Space Nuclear Power Systems, NASA TM 105637.

    Mason, L. S. et al, 1997, "Experimental Data for Two Different Alternator Configurations in a Solar Brayton Power System", Proceedings of the 32nd Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, NASA TM 107509.

    Mock, E. A., 1994, "Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration (SD GTD) System Orbital and Startup Control Methods", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 185-192.

    Namkoong, D., Jacqmin, D. and Szaniszlo, A., 1995, "Effect of Microgravity on Material Undergoing Melting and Freezing - The TES Experiment", Proceedings of the 33rd Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, NASA TM 106845.

    Ortner, S. and Krause, S., 1991, "Heat Transfer Predictions for a New Heat-Pipe Latent-Heat-Storage Receiver Element for Solar Dynamic Space Power Systems", Space Power, Vol. 10. No. 2, pp. 239-256.

    Shaltens, R. K., 1995, "Overview of the Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Program at the NASA Lewis Research Center", NASA TM 106876.

    Shaltens, R. K. and Boyle, R. V., 1993, "Overview of the Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Program", Proceedings of the 28th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 2, pp. 831-836, NASA TM 106296.

    Shaltens, R. K. and Boyle, R. V., 1994, "Update of the 2 kW Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstration Program", Proceedings of the 29th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, pp. 359-365, NASA TM 106730.

    Shaltens, R. K. and Boyle, R. V., 1995, "Initial Results From the Solar Dynamic (SD) Ground Test Demonstration (GTD) Project at NASA Lewis", Proceedings of the 30th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, pp. 363-368, NASA TM 107004.

    Shaltens, R. K. and Mason, L. S., 1996, "500 Hours of Operational Experience From a Solar Dynamic Power System", Proceedings of the 31st Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Vol. 1, pp. 660-665, NASA TM 107294.

    Shaltens, R. K. and Mason, L. S., 1996, "Early Results From Solar Dynamic Space Power System Testing", Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 12, No. 5, pp. 852-858, Sept. - Oct. 1996, NASA TM 107252.

    Stähle, H. J. and Lindner, F., 1989, "Development of a High Temperature Storage Unit for Integration With Solar Dynamic Systems", Proceedings of the European Space Power Conference, Oct. 1989, pp. 287-291.

    Strumpf, H. J. et al, 1994, "Thermal and Structural Analysis of the Heat Receiver for the Solar Dynamic Ground Test Demonstrator", Proceedings of the Joint Solar Engineering Conference, ASME 1994, pp. 223-234.

    Strumpf, H. J. et al., 1997, "Design and Analysis of the Aperture Shield Assembly for a Space Solar Receiver", Proceedings of the 32nd Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, NASA TM 107500.

    Tolbert, C. M., 1994, "Selection of Solar Simulator for Solar Dynamic Ground Test", Proceedings of the 29th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, NASA TM 106608.

    Tolbert, C. M. and Robinson, F., 1998, "Experimental Results From the Thermal Energy Storage-2 (TES-2) Flight Experiment", Proceedings of the 36th Aerospace Sciences Meeting & Exhibit, January 12-15, 1998.

    Wanhainen, J. S. and Tyburski, T. E., 1995, "Joint US/Russian Solar Dynamic Flight Demonstration Project Plan", Proceedings of the 30th Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, pp. 417-420.
     
  5. Apr 15, 2005 #4

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Solar has potential, but the main impediment right now is cost. It needs to get cheaper by a factor of 5 (at the consumer level) before its really viable as a replacement for traditional sources of energy.
     
  6. Apr 15, 2005 #5
    This is an intersting data I found. I better quote it!

    My question is: Is our development of technology using solar power catching up fast enough to cope up with the energy demand?
     
  7. Apr 15, 2005 #6

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    Like I said, technology really doesn't have much to do with it. We, today, have the technology to cover the world's deserts with solar panels to provide for the world's electricity needs. The problem is simply one of cost.

    That said, technology will be what fixes the cost issue (if it happens): new technology for cheaper solar panels.
     
  8. Apr 15, 2005 #7
    Could you quantify this?
     
  9. Apr 15, 2005 #8

    chroot

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    At about 1 kW per m^2, best case, I don't see solar as a serious option for anything but call-boxes on the interstate, honestly.

    - Warren
     
  10. Apr 16, 2005 #9

    Ouabache

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    I wonder if they included the sun's energy which the earth's biomass captures photosynthetically.
    Certainly everything we eat is made though capturing the sun's energy. Wood, coal and petroleum were also made from the sun's energy.
     
  11. Apr 16, 2005 #10

    Pengwuino

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    Gold Member

    Yah we could provide solar power to the world if we start covering out desert areas with them. And when we say cover... we litterally mean COVER... as if God rolled out foil wrap across the sahara lol. Economically its an incredible cost. But meh.. lets say energy completely went dry or global warming started causing catastrophic problems and the idea of money was abolished for this special case... we could thankfully support our electrical needs completely from the sun if this worst case scenario came into play.
     
  12. Apr 16, 2005 #11
    Electric solar power only has a future if the solar cells can produce more energy than is consumed in making them - in other words we need a solar powered solar cell manufacturing plant.

    As long the energy factor "energy generated by solar cell during life "/"energy to produce" is smaller than 1 then solar power is not a feasable alternative

    A solar-powered car or aeroplane does not impress me unless the energy balance is correct
     
  13. Apr 16, 2005 #12
    You are forgetting a very important factor. Desert winds can deposit a lot of dust on the solar cells and dramatically reduce their efficiency. In addition you will need massive batteries for power during the night and during stormy days. Bad weather can cause a lot of damage to the solar cells. Then the thousands of miles of cable that is required.

    And the Americas or Australia cannot be fully powered by a solar cell plant in say the Sahara desert. E.g. US will need its own plants. With this comes in the destruction caused by tornados and hurricanes.
     
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