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2879RE: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation

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  • Ooi, Han
    Jan 6, 2005
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          In my solar engineering textbook, it states that a solar cell will get hot IF the electricity generated by it is not used.  This makes sense since energy can neither be created nor destroyed.  If the power doesn't take the form of electrical energy, then it will take to form of thermal energy.  So as solar cells get more and more efficient, they will run cooler and cooler.
      Han Ooi
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Gary Beck [mailto:eco@...]
      Sent: Thursday, January 06, 2005 9:55 AM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation

      Incredible breakthoughs or not, one thing I have to point out is that solar cells should not be thought of as free or even renewable. The energy they capture is not free. They make electricity by capturing energy that is otherwise reflected back into space. All this captured energy will be released as sensable heat. 
      The other point is that every solar cell I have ever seen is very dark color and that on a sunny day I assume you can fry and egg on them during operation.  And they would remain warm for a few extra hours each night.  Sounds like a hot city that has 1/2 of the area of every roof covered in in solar cells. 
      This vision of a 'solar roof on every house' is the opposite of significant eco design efforts to try to cool cities by adopting building specifications changing commercial roof colors to white and residential roofs to very light shingles (plus a cooler roof means cooler living working space). Or better yet like USGBC-LEED and other efforts that support 'green' garden roof on new commerical buildings. 
      What is the best approach to satisfy both concerns? Is there a light colored solar cell? Any one have a design for a solar cell garden roof?
      Gary Beck
      Eco-Holdings LLC
      I read ocasionally Scientific American, Discovery, Science etc. - they are great for 'what if' and 'think about this' , but not very good predictors at all. What were they saying about fuel cells 10 or 20 years ago? My son get Popular Science - a recent article is called "Hydrogen's Bomb - Decoding the Hype".  My favorite recent new science release? The spinach plant that is designed to generate electricity (no joke) (here's a joke: It is a good thing since will require more candle lit dinners - cause after you finish your salad it's light out!) 
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Roxanne Boyer [mailto:rox1@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2005 10:20 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation

      Mr. Malone,
      I quite dissagree with you on many of these issues, and so do most scientists.  Read any of the articles today on energy in Scientific American, Physics Today, Discovery, Science, .... and you will find that our current oil consumption trends can only be sustained to about 2050, plus or minus 20 years.  Renewable energy is growing exponencially.  Europe is aiming for 20% renewables by 2020.  I believe many of the US States already have similar goals and many more will join in as time goes on.  There will be a change within the next lifespan.
      Even the "Oil" companies realize this and have published reports that say so.  They are starting to call themselves "Energy" companies and investing quite heavily in renewable energy.  See Shell Solar, Shell Wind, Shell Renewables, BP Solar, GE Solar, GE Wind, for example.  And if the oil companies don't lead, the electronics companies will.  Sharp is already the leading manufacturer of solar cells.
      I don't know how you did your math about not enough solar energy in New Jersey (is that the state with the highest energy to land ratio and the least sunny state?).  But the math I have done shows that I can supply all of my Houston household electrical needs (averaged) by covering half of my roof with solar panels.  No breakthrough technology needed; it already exists.  If you trend retail electric prices and solar PV prices, you will see the cost cross in the year 2025 - then it will be more economical to buy PV than grid electricity!
      If you read up on the technical progress of photoelectrics, you will see incredible breakthroughs in the last 10 years.  Right now, solar cells are expensive because production can not keep up with demand.  And new record breaking production facillities are being opened each year.
      If you want a "heart felt" change, read the July-August issue of Renewable Energy World each year and see the growth of RE for yourself.  It is amazing.  Maybe we can discuss some of the facts at the next HREG meeting, Sunday, 2:00pm, Jan 30th at TSU.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 8:43 PM
      Subject: RE: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation


      All this discussion is interesting and heart felt.  The following is not intended as a rant, but to put our problem in perspective.


      Our government, both parties, is so tied to big oil money, .

      It would take solar panels covering every square inch of the state of New Jersey just to equal the energy used in New Jersey.  So the size of the oil dependency is almost beyond our reason.


      A breakthrough, one not foreseeable by current science is most likely the only hope in the US.  Outside the US there may be some help because of the different mind set of the non US-Oil cartel.


      China is graduating more engineers & scientists each year than the US graduates all college students of all degree fields.  China has a massive energy problem.  They also have a growing economy that it partly controlled & partly free market.  As they inevitably pass the US number of educated citizens (check out our schools systems if you doubt this) and the controlling government forces capital & research in to alternative energy research because of their vast needs and lack of resources they may turn this thing around.


      I hope I live long enough to see the beginning.

      In the interim, conservation, voting, getting activity in politics may be the only drop in the bucket we have. I hope I’m wrong.



      J. Patrick Malone


      -----Original Message-----
      From: Robert Johnston [mailto:junk1@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 03, 2005 7:36 PM
      To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: RE: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation



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