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

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  • Mike Ewert
    2 points: Note the land area required for solar energy in Richard Smalley s presentation. http://smalley.rice.edu/emplibrary/columbia09232003.ppt#1 I like PV
    Message 1 of 18 , Jan 6, 2005
      2 points:
      Note the land area required for solar energy in Richard Smalley's presentation.
       
      I like PV too, but solar thermal is even farther along in terms of cost competitiveness (large scale).   It is one of the most cost-effective renewable power technologies, with present power generation costs of US¢12-20/kWh and long-term costs of US¢5-10/kWh. Source: Renewable Energy World
      -----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.
      Sincerely,
      Chris
       
       
      ----- 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

       

       

    • Gary Beck
      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
      Message 2 of 18 , Jan 6, 2005
        Message
        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.
        Sincerely,
        Chris
         
         
        ----- 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

         

         

      • Ooi, Han
        Well, 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
        Message 3 of 18 , Jan 6, 2005
          Message
          Well,
              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.
          Sincerely,
          Chris
           
           
          ----- 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

           

           

        • Jim & Janet
          Message Gary Beck Eco-Holdings LLC Wrote: Is there a light colored solar cell? Well, the reason the cells surface is dark is to help it absorb as much light
          Message 4 of 18 , Jan 6, 2005
            Message
             
            Gary Beck
            Eco-Holdings LLC
             
            Wrote:    Is there a light colored solar cell?
             
            Well, the reason the cells surface is dark is to help it absorb as much light energy as possible. A light colored cell would reflect more photons reducing the cells output significantly. If you looked at the cell surface under magnification, you would see the surface is jagged and rough to increase the surface receiving sunlight. The heat is just an unwanted byproduct.
            Possibly the quickest way to improve module efficiency by 1 to 2 % is to figure how to eliminate resistance at the interconnections between individual cells. No one has yet figured how to effectively 'solder' wires to silicon. This is why most PV manufacturers advertise the individual cell efficiency as slightly higher than the overall module efficiency. That's driving the industry away from silicon and toward other methods of electrical production; spinach for example.
            Jim Duncan
          • Robert Johnston
            Am I missing something, or is this much to do about nothing? Sure, any radiant energy captured by a solar cell is not reflected back into space immediately.
            Message 5 of 18 , Jan 7, 2005
              Message

              Am I missing something, or is this much to do about nothing?

               

              Sure, any radiant energy captured by a solar cell is not reflected back into space immediately.  But:  (a) even if you had a perfect mirror there instead, not all reflected light would make it back to space [light scattering, greenhouse effect, etc.]; (b) surely one can coat the cell with a reflective surface that transmits UV (or whatever wavelengths the solar cell optimally uses) and reflects others; (c) if the solar cell weren’t there, it is unlikely that the surface that would be there instead would reflect light back perfectly either.  It would absorb at least a portion of it and the radiant energy would be converted to heat.  Even biomass merely stores it as potential energy that is later released as heat by burning, digestion, etc.  And, (d) some of the absorbed radiation that is converted into heat will eventually be emitted back to space.  Ever notice how much the earth cools on a clear night with no cloud cover?  That is heat loss by a relatively cool substrate, e.g., the earth at 15-30°C.

               

              I don’t think we are talking about a big deal here.  Even if 1% of the U.S. land mass were covered with solar cells, that would not absorb as much radiant energy as our forests do today.

               

              Why not just do a radiant energy balance on the planet?  Smalley’s presentation says in 2003 we used 14 terawatts (TW) of energy per day.  This compares to 165,000 TW of sunlight striking the planet per day.  Even at the 50 TW he projects we’ll need in 2050, that is only 0.03% of the sun’s radiant energy being needed.  If we have perfectly absorbent solar cells that absorb all the solar spectrum, and if they operate at only 10% solar efficiency, that means that the solar cells necessary to supply our energy needs in 2050 (assuming we go 100% solar cells for energy needs) would absorb just 0.3% of the sun’s radiant flux on earth.  Do you think we’d even notice that?  Remember, a significant fraction of that 0.3% is already absorbed by whatever substrate is there today.  We’re talking about an extremely small effect here!

               

              There remains a debate about whether global warming is real or not.  But if we assume it is, I think most scientists would argue that the cause of global warming is not the heat we are emitting but rather the greenhouse effect, e.g., the heat we are trapping.  If we quit using fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, any additional heat absorbed by solar cells would be more than compensated for by the increased emission to space.  In other words, we can afford to convert more energy into sensable heat so long as we have less greenhouse effect.

               

              If you are concerned about localized effects, such as in cities, there would be ways to mitigate it.  For instance, you could make covered parking lots, with the cells on the roof; this would merely absorb what would have otherwise been absorbed by the asphalt.  There are indeed efforts to convert roofing membranes from black rubber sheeting or asphalt to white TPO roofing membranes.  However, as happened at MinuteMaid Park, mold and mildew can quickly stain a white roof to a dark color, so it is not a very robust approach today, and I’m not sure what the long term contribution to urban micro-climates is.  Personally, I’d prefer a dark roof since it is more UV stable and should last longer.  That makes sense from an economic and sustainability standpoint.  If I were a roofing membrane installer, though, I’d sure rather work on a white roof!  (At least in Houston in the summer)!

               

              Robert Johnston

               

               

              -----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.

              Sincerely,

              Chris

               

               

              ----- 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

               

               

            • Richard D. Kelley
              Mountains out a molehill? Buy some panels a put that Texas cooker to work. ... From: Robert Johnston [SMTP:junk1@plastability.com] Sent: Friday, January 07,
              Message 6 of 18 , Jan 7, 2005
                Mountains out a molehill? Buy some panels a put that Texas cooker to work.


                -----Original Message-----
                From: Robert Johnston [SMTP:junk1@...]
                Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 4:57 PM
                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: Oh Politics! RE: [hreg] crash science initiative for alternative energy and conservation

                << File: ATT00029.htm >> Am I missing something, or is this much to do about nothing?



                Sure, any radiant energy captured by a solar cell is not reflected back
                into space immediately. But: (a) even if you had a perfect mirror
                there instead, not all reflected light would make it back to space
                [light scattering, greenhouse effect, etc.]; (b) surely one can coat the
                cell with a reflective surface that transmits UV (or whatever
                wavelengths the solar cell optimally uses) and reflects others; (c) if
                the solar cell weren't there, it is unlikely that the surface that would
                be there instead would reflect light back perfectly either. It would
                absorb at least a portion of it and the radiant energy would be
                converted to heat. Even biomass merely stores it as potential energy
                that is later released as heat by burning, digestion, etc. And, (d)
                some of the absorbed radiation that is converted into heat will
                eventually be emitted back to space. Ever notice how much the earth
                cools on a clear night with no cloud cover? That is heat loss by a
                relatively cool substrate, e.g., the earth at 15-30°C.



                I don't think we are talking about a big deal here. Even if 1% of the
                U.S. land mass were covered with solar cells, that would not absorb as
                much radiant energy as our forests do today.



                Why not just do a radiant energy balance on the planet? Smalley's
                presentation says in 2003 we used 14 terawatts (TW) of energy per day.
                This compares to 165,000 TW of sunlight striking the planet per day.
                Even at the 50 TW he projects we'll need in 2050, that is only 0.03% of
                the sun's radiant energy being needed. If we have perfectly absorbent
                solar cells that absorb all the solar spectrum, and if they operate at
                only 10% solar efficiency, that means that the solar cells necessary to
                supply our energy needs in 2050 (assuming we go 100% solar cells for
                energy needs) would absorb just 0.3% of the sun's radiant flux on earth.
                Do you think we'd even notice that? Remember, a significant fraction of
                that 0.3% is already absorbed by whatever substrate is there today.
                We're talking about an extremely small effect here!



                There remains a debate about whether global warming is real or not. But
                if we assume it is, I think most scientists would argue that the cause
                of global warming is not the heat we are emitting but rather the
                greenhouse effect, e.g., the heat we are trapping. If we quit using
                fossil fuels and drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, any
                additional heat absorbed by solar cells would be more than compensated
                for by the increased emission to space. In other words, we can afford
                to convert more energy into sensable heat so long as we have less
                greenhouse effect.



                If you are concerned about localized effects, such as in cities, there
                would be ways to mitigate it. For instance, you could make covered
                parking lots, with the cells on the roof; this would merely absorb what
                would have otherwise been absorbed by the asphalt. There are indeed
                efforts to convert roofing membranes from black rubber sheeting or
                asphalt to white TPO roofing membranes. However, as happened at
                MinuteMaid Park, mold and mildew can quickly stain a white roof to a
                dark color, so it is not a very robust approach today, and I'm not sure
                what the long term contribution to urban micro-climates is. Personally,
                I'd prefer a dark roof since it is more UV stable and should last
                longer. That makes sense from an economic and sustainability
                standpoint. If I were a roofing membrane installer, though, I'd sure
                rather work on a white roof! (At least in Houston in the summer)!



                Robert Johnston





                -----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.

                Sincerely,

                Chris





                ----- Original Message -----

                From: J. <mailto:JPMALONE@...> P. Malone

                To: hreg@yahoogroups.com

                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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