Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Light That Surrounds Us


Here is an oldie but a goodie.

The Surrounding Light

I came across another announcement today of a major breakthrough in photon to electron devices. This one is from Denmark.

Danish Scientists Developing Solar Cell
By CHRISTIAN WIENBERG
Associated Press Writer
July 16, 2005

"COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Danish scientists say they have built a new type of plastic solar cell that lasts significantly longer than previous versions and could pave the wave(sic) for cheaper solar power. Plastic cells cost only a fraction of the more common silicon cells used in solar-powered products, such as calculators. But plastic cells typically are fragile and only last for a few days.

"Our new cell has a life span of 2 1/2 years, which must be a world record for plastic cells," said Frederik Krebs, senior scientist with the state-owned Risoe national laboratory, which presented its research Friday.

Some experts not affiliated with the project said the plastic cells wound(sic) need to become more efficient before they could be used for consumer products.

The Danish scientists said they were using a more stable form of plastic as the active substance in the cell, which converts energy from the sun's rays into electricity.

The market price for a silicon cell is up to 5,000 kroner (US$800, euro675) per square meter, while a plastic cell of the same size costs less than 100 kroner (US$15, euro13), they said."

Then, there is the kicker from the reporter.

Silicon cells are widely used in items such as calculators and watches, and some houses get all their energy supply from silicon solar cells. There are also solar-powered cars, but they are extremely expensive and therefore not mass-produced.

So, there you have it.

You can have Solar Cells for calculators and watches, maybe some houses, but cars are extremely expensive.

Absof*%kinglutely amazing.

It's as if the reporter passed the story off to the the carbon editor to make sure that it was shaped right.

"Hey Chief, does this work?"

"Let's see.

Oh yeah, nice, nice, very nice,Chris.

I like the use of and placement of extremely,

Vague but powerful."

Imagine this slant instead.

While solar cells at $800.00 a meter may be marginally uneconomical when competing with electricity at today's fossil based prices, Solar cells at $15.00 would blow the competition out of the water, and would thus usher in a non-polluting, and non-depleting age of solar energy.

Now, not everyone can turn meters into KW, so let me help Chris out.

At 10 square feet/meter and 800 dollars a meter,

that's about 8 dollars a watt, which is actually a little high.

Six dollars a watt is closer to the right price in a competitive market.

But with this new material at 15.00 a meter and at 1/4 the efficiency,

The new price is 60 cents a watt.

Each watt of solar will produce about 1.7 Kwhs each year.

At 10 cents/Kwh, you need 4 years to pay it back.

That works.

Especially if electricity is 20 cents a Kwh in 10 years.

There are many renewable technologies that can reach this

50 cent/ watt threshold now.

There are other strategies that make energy from light affordable now.

On the horizon are power paints , made with nano based bucky balls.

And we can make heliohydrogen to fuel our power plants and factories.

We can move away from our archaic fires and the gift of Prometheus.

But first, we as humans must evolve in our minds.

Energy is everywhere.

It is in the blackness of space.

And in the vast spaces in the atom.

It is in the light that surrounds us.

We don't need some cute female geologist on Sunday Morning TV

to tell us that she is working so hard to find us more energy.

It is in the light that surrounds us.

We don't need to send our young with guns to protect

the energy of the previous millennium,

For the energy we need, for the world we must cherish,

It is in the light that surrounds us.

We don't need to ruin our climate, scraping and wounding the earth,

for the energy of the previous previous millennium

It is in the light that surrounds us.

We don't need to poison the earth for longer than we have history,

just to get energy from elements

that vibrate with the deaths of last century's war energy,

It is in the light that surrounds us.

Just because you can't see it.

It doesn't mean it's not there.

It is in the light that surrounds us.


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art courtesy of Caitlin Schwerin

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2 Comments:

Blogger cary said...

This is yet another of the exciting solar energy developments you have blogged about in recent months. From the items you have posted, I sense that solar energy technology is developing rapidly on many fronts and that we can expect a substantial reduction of the cost of solar generated electricity in the near to medium term. Two questions: (1) Is this sense justified or am I making too much too soon out of these announcements? (2) Is there a web site or journal that would keep me abreast of solar energy-realted developments, especially something that would explain the physics a bit? Thanks for your excellent blog.

12:57 PM  
Blogger OZ said...

The sense if justified, but the will to move these technologies forward with all possible dispatch is still not present.

Besides this site, check out the energy blog, its in the links section under news sources.

http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/

there is a pretty big thin film announcement there today.

6:36 AM  

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