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This “Anti-Solar Panel” Could Generate Power From Darkness

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The world won’t end in 10 years.  New renewable energy source to help us all replace fossil fuels.  We just need another 15 years to produce it. Hahahahaha.  It is very interesting.  Read the article and see for yourself.  

 

This “Anti-Solar Panel” Could Generate Power From Darkness

By Haley Zaremba - Sep 23, 2019, 3:00 PM CDT

A new poll confirms that the majority of constituents in the United States are still opposed to president Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, as well as his overall views on climate change. According to reporting by Time Magazine, “while the administration has rolled back regulations to cut emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from power and industrial plants and pushed for more coal use, wide shares of Americans say they want just the opposite, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.” 

Meanwhile, the scientific community continues to release studies showing that the need to address the threat posed by global warming is greater than ever and growing more dire all the time. At the end of last year, the premiere global authority on the state of global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released a report showing that compiled data and research indicates that in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial averages this century, we will have to cut global carbon emissions by 45 percent by 2030 and down to zero by the middle of the century. 

This is going to be extraordinarily difficult to do with just renewable resources. As Vox reports, explaining the tension between whether going 100 percent renewable is really an option, “at the heart of the debate is the simple fact that the two biggest sources of renewable energy — wind and solar power — are ‘variable.’ They come and go with the weather and time of day. They are not ‘dispatchable,’ which means they cannot be turned on and off, or up and down, according to the grid’s needs. They don’t adjust to the grid; the grid adjusts to them.”

A new breakthrough in clean energy, however, could change everything. A new “anti-solar panel” could be able to bridge the gap left by solar energy, collecting energy from the night sky. The thermoelectric generator-based device, developed by a team of researchers at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, harnesses the variance in temperature between Earth and outer space, by using “a passive cooling mechanism known as radiative sky cooling to maintain the cold side of a thermoelectric generator several degrees below ambient” according to the researchers study, published in the scientific journal Joule.  Related: Has Iran Won The War For The Middle East?

The study, titled “Generating Light from Darkness” goes on to explain the energy-producing process in further detail: “We use a passive cooling mechanism known as radiative sky cooling to maintain the cold side of a thermoelectric generator several degrees below ambient. The surrounding air heats the warm side of the thermoelectric generator, with the ensuing temperature difference converted into usable electricity. We highlight pathways to improving performance from a demonstrated 25 mW/m2 to 0.5 W/m2. Finally, we demonstrate that even with the low-cost implementation demonstration here, enough power is produced to light a LED: generating light from darkness.”

So far, the groundbreaking device has only been tested at a very small scale. A 20-centimeter prototype was tested by Stanford last winter, and the small test successfully created enough energy to power a single small LED lightbulb--a small success with immeasurably massive potential. As ScienceNews reports, “A bigger version of this nighttime generator could someday light rooms, charge phones or power other electronics in remote or low-resource areas that lack electricity at night when solar panels don’t work.” 

The technology is still under development, and the researchers have already planned improvements including enhanced insulation around the top plate that could potentially raise the device’s energy production to 0.5 watts per square meter or more, but the potential outcomes are boundless. If this technology could eventually be refined to produce anywhere close to as much energy as a standard solar panel, it would completely transform the renewable energy sector, making it a far greater contender to take the place of fossil fuels. 

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Solar, Wind Are Now Cheaper Than Coal In Most Of The World

By Haley Zaremba - Sep 28, 2019, 4:00 PM CDT

The world’s premiere authority on global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC for short), announced in an alarming report at the end of last year that the world is running out of time to curb carbon dioxide emissions. In fact, the data they collected found that in order to keep global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees centigrade over pre-industrial averages within this century (the goal set by the Paris climate agreement), the entire world would have to transition to 100 percent clean energy by the middle of the century. This, it goes without saying, is a lofty goal. But up until now, clean energies just haven’t been able to compete in a market flooded with cheap fossil fuels. 

Low- and no-carbon renewable energies like solar and wind power have long been subsidized by governments around the world because while they hold great promise for a clear, more sustainable energy future, they just couldn’t compete with natural gas, coal, and oil when it comes to the bottom line. But now, what was once so prohibitively expensive that governments needed to give financial incentive for these green energy technologies to be adopted at any serious scale, have become extremely cheap--even with no government subsidies at all.

This week Bloomberg reported on the once unthinkable phenomena of solar and wind subsidies disappearing across the world because the industry has outgrown the need for them. “On sun-drenched fields across Spain and Italy, developers are building solar farms without subsidies or tax-breaks, betting they can profit without them. In China, the government plans to stop financially supporting new wind farms. And in the U.S., developers are signing shorter sales contracts, opting to depend on competitive markets for revenue once the agreements expire,” Bloomberg said

Perhaps most importantly, the article goes on to point out, these developments of self-sufficiency and profitability in the renewable energies sector “have profound implications for the push to phase out fossil fuels and slow the onset of climate change.” The importance of our global energy production and consumption in terms of the global community’s impact on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change can’t be overstated. The Bloomberg report continues: “Electricity generation and heating account for 25% of global greenhouse gases. As wind and solar demonstrate they can compete on their own against coal- and natural gas-fired plants, the economic and political arguments in favor of carbon-free power become harder and harder to refute.” Related: Traders Scramble To Find ‘Plan B’ As Sanctions Ground Chinese Oil Tankers

The reason that wind and solar have outgrown government subsidy programs is not because they never needed them at all--to the contrary, the fact that financial state support of renewables is no longer needed shows that the subsidies did exactly what they were supposed to. They allowed renewables, a young innovative sector, to get past the often-fatal initial stages of a new market sector where the prohibitively expensive first steps of scaling up an industry can often crush a company before it truly begins to function and then stabilize. Now, as JMP Securities equity analyst Joe Osha told reporters, “the training wheels are off.” 

Wind and solar have successfully been able to expand to a level where they can mass-market and standardize, meaning costs go down and efficiency rises, especially as solar and wind technologies become more and more efficient. According to data from BloombergNEF, wind power now costs half of what it did in 2010, and in the same period of time, the cost of solar has plummeted by a jaw-dropping 85 percent, making wind and solar cheaper than building a new coal or gas plant in most of the world.

Now, we just need wind and solar to be more widely adopted. Much, much more widely adopted. Sales are already up, but renewables still account for a very slim proportion of global energy mixes. The profits are there, and the need is most certainly there, but the status quo can be hard to shake. 

There is also the issue of variability with wind and solar--if the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, production dips, but demand for energy does not. Luckily, there are solutions to this problem, and the market for energy storage, which would help provide a steady energy flow to the grid, is growing rapidly as well. We have a long, long way to go towards reaching the IPCC’s deadline of 100 percent renewables by the middle of the century, but the goal is now more attainable than ever. 

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Wind is intermittent at best and a danger to the environment in its current form of huge wind turbines. More birds have been killed by wind turbines than by hunters or cars. Solar energy capture is at best only 40 to 65 percent efficient which means you need to purchase a minimum of 2.5 panels to get the needed amount of power 1 panel claims it captures. Part of this reason is how the sun traverses the sky, the location in relation to latitude, the amount of rain, snow and cloudy days (this calculation is called a sun rating). The best sun rating in the USA right now out of 100 possible is not even near 100 but more in the mid 80's. There would be greater benefit in hydroelectric generation than either solar or wind but then we begin to get into something entirely different. Solar will always be a good back up but should not be relied upon as a primary. Wind is too intermittent to even qualify as a backup unless there are sustainable winds over 8 mph 24 hours a day, every day. And since this really only occurs in the remotest of places, this is not a viable energy source. Algae to replace fossil fuel has a promising outlook as it is something humans do not normally eat and thus far is a clean burn.

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