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Two Alternate Energy Technologies Worth Exploring

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  • Bashir Syed
    The three promising technologies are: 1. Striling Engines. 2. Fly-wheel technology. 3. Conducting Polymer PV Materials. 1. SAIC had developed portable electric
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 22, 2006
      The three promising technologies are:
      1. Striling Engines.
      2. Fly-wheel technology.
      3. Conducting Polymer PV Materials.  
      1. SAIC had developed portable electric plants for use in the field employing an array of concave mirrors like a hug dish, focusing sunlight on to a Stirling Engine to convery mecahanical energy into electrical energy, for Doe and DoD. More R&D funding should be allocated to exploit SUN's Thermal Energy into useful electrical energy.
      2. Fly-wheel Generator: NASA's Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH had developed a source of energy to be used in the International Space Station, for which I had to review the electronic parts list to study them for viability in Space Environment (extreme thermal, and space-ionizing radiation).  The project entailed a Fly-wheel made of Composite material spinning at about 60,000 RPM, and the axle of this flywheel spinning inside "magnetic bearings," to minimize friction. In space two flyweels sinning in opposite directions were needed to counter the torque vectors (not to destabilize the motion of the International Space Station). The project was halted because of risks of an accident if the composite flywheel ever fell aprt spinning at such high speeds, and it might destroy the station.
      But on ground such a single flywheel using superconducting magnetic bearing would not pose such a threat.
      The idea was to have a DC motor on one side of the shaft (axle) and a generator on the other side of the axle. The wheel was started to spin with Solar Photovoltaic panels, and would keep on spinning even at night while there was no sunlight falling on the PV panels. Prof. Paul Chu, who won the Nobel Prize for discovering relatively high temperature superconductors, at University of Houston, has such a flywheel set up in his lab for demonstration which once started to spin would not come to rest within one week. The concept was that the Energy supplied by the PV Array would start the flywheel spinning, and the reduced friction provided by super-conducting bearings would keep it running even when there was no loght on the PV array during the night, and in the morning it will again get enough energy to accelerate and continue this process of spinning, during which time the generator built on the other side of the axle would keep on generating enough electrical energy to either store it the battery bank bank or send it to the grid via inverters. Flyweels mounted in transport systems might also increase the mileage/gallon provided by the vehicle as well.
      3. Already Konarka in Massachusetts has proven this technology to make Plastic PV material combining Nano technology (for increasing efficiency of these materials) being manufactured like rolls of fabric. The first application Konarka has shown is to integrate such flexible plastic material with the material of which the tents are made up of. When these military use tents are opened and set up, the soldiers in the field connect to DC power generated by the Plastic Solar PV material outside the tent, and enables them to use their communication gear and laptops to communicate directly with Pentagon via satellites. Already Exxon-Mobil has funded the collaborative work of Dr. Richard Smalley (one of the Nobel Laureate who shared the Prize for dicovery of Carbon Nano-tubes) at Rice University, as Conducting Ploymer compsites with nano-materils show a great promise for manufacturing PV materials using organic chemoistry and without any dependence of difficult to get Silicon creating a bottleneck in the PV arena.
      Thus more R&D funding must be allocated to exploit these three technologies as well.
      Bashir A. Syed   
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