'Major discovery' from MIT primed to unleash solar revolution

Discussion in 'The BS Topic' started by 80ZnTexas, Aug 1, 2008.

  1. 80ZnTexas

    80ZnTexas Veteran Member

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    Is this place they call MIT even a "real" university??? :crazy:
     
  2. li0nhart123

    li0nhart123 Veteran Member

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    We are sort of at an energy impasse right now. So far all of our major sources of energy have in essence been, some form of "condensed" sunlight.

    Hundreds of millions of years of photsynthesis was required to produce the fossil fuels hat we have managed to burn up in less than 200 years.

    another example...I am heating my house with about 1 -2 tons of wood each year. That is about 10 full grown threes that took between 50 and 80 years to grow. So 500 years of sunlight falling on the area of a single tree is requird to heat my home for 6 months....if we all did this..our forests would be stripped bare in a few years.

    We are awash in sunlight...but it is an instant source of energy not one that is easily stored without stripping our natural resources bare.

    where I live, we get about 1.2 watts/hour per square meter (9 square feet) of sunlight when the sun is shinning. it's even less when you have to convert it to electricity with an ineificient solar panel. 1.2 watts barely powers a solar calculator let alone an internal combustion engine.
     
  3. GetMore

    GetMore Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    I think this is the breakthrough that we need to make fuel cells viable. What they aren't telling us is how much energy per square foot is produced.
    The dream of powering the house during the day on solar is not happening now, never mind electrolizing water.
    When they mention that enough sunlight hits the Earth in one hour to power the world for a day they aren't considering the rest of the picture.
    Let's say we took all that energy: What would we have? A cold, dark world. No light or heat.
    Now, how about where the panels are to gather this energy: You have to cover half the world (after all, half is in darkness at any time) with whatever kind of solar panels they use. So, assuming we only need 1/24th of the solar energy (1 hour per day), we only need to cover about 4 percent of the sky. Multiply that by the conversion losses and inefficiencies, and we are back up to a significant portion of the sky.
     
  4. ULTM8Z

    ULTM8Z Veteran Member

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    That's not how "greenhouse" gases work. They work by trapping heat given off by the earth in the form of longwave infrared. And in order for this mechanism to work, the gas molecules must resonate at the EM frequencies being passed through them. H2O is the best at this given it's shear quantity and the bandwidths it resonates at. CO2 is also a good resonator at LW IR frequencies, but the significance of it's contribution is still in dispute (despite what the media tries to portray). The gas molecules essentially absorb the energy, become exited, and then transfer that heat back down to earth's surface and the lower atmosphere through convection.


    Hydrogen gas is essentially transparent to LW IR. So it wouldn't do what you're suggesting.


    If we had no magnetic field (or a very weak one), the whole atmosphere would get blown away. Mars is currently suffering this fate. The earth's magnetic field protects us from this happening.

    I guess I'm just not seeing the mechanism for this...
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  5. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    So, we can't use hydrogen because it will all escape the planet, but it's OK for you to use more than your fair share of wood to heat your home?? Does your wood stove have a catalyst on it? If not, it's polluting more than my Camaro!!

    The average solar constant is 1.4kW/sq meter, not 1.2 watts- that's a factor of 1000 greater, so it obviously changes the whole argument. There's no question that BC gets less than, say, southern Arizona, but it is not that much less. 1 watt of solar energy per square meter, and you wouldn't be much above absolute zero.:) 1.5W/sq meter is the solar constant for Neptune.

    http://rredc.nrel.gov/solar/spectra/am0/ASTM2000.html

    I think the concern of all the hydrogen disappearing into space is way over-rated. Let's do some quick math, since I haven't had time to think this out fully.

    US uses 20mil barrels of oil per day. That's 3.06x10^11 gallons/year.

    Let's assume that if we were to use water to get hydrogen, we would need 3x as much to get equivalent usage. Let's assume all of it is converted using this MIT catalyst from solar or wind.

    3.06x10^11 gallons x 3 = roughly 1.0x10^12 gallons per year. One *TRILLION* gallons of water. Man, that's A LOT.

    Or, is it really...

    Lake Michigan is 1180 cubic miles of water, or 1.33x10^15 gallons. That's 1.33 *QUADRILLION* gallons of water, or 1300 times more than the annual supply we'd need in my example.

    So, it would take 1300 years, at our current consumption, to drain Lake Michigan.

    Still, that's a LOT. Or, is it really...:)

    There are 333 MILLION square miles of water on Earth. Lake Michigan represents 0.00003% of the total water available on Earth.

    Now, let's assume that a full 10% of the hydrogen (which is an absurdly high estimate) escapes the Earth. Therefore, we would lose 0.000003% of the world's water supply over the next 1300 years.

    Is this *really* something to worry about? Against spending 25% of our federal budget on Defense that is largely focused on protecting our "National Interests" (which currently don't go far beyond energy), it sure doesn't seem like it.

    Todd
     
  6. rare71

    rare71 Veteran Member

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    Read this:
    http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=38645
     
  7. Todd80Z28

    Todd80Z28 Moderator Staff Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Now, make no mistake here-

    Hydrogen is not, and has never been, an energy source (not here on Earth anyways- it is fuel for the Sun, though;) ) It is an energy storage medium, in much the same way as a battery is.

    The point here is to take energy that is otherwise not useful to you- such as the sunshine in the desert, or the wind blowing across a plain, and either use it immediately on the power grid, or store it. Vast quantities of batteries is not practical, so cracking hydrogen off of water and storing it in tanks for later usage becomes the "battery."

    This device is a breakthrough because it can be done with pure water. The electrolyzers out now (even the Brown's Gas HHO generators that are all the rage on Youtube for making your car get 75mpg:rolleyes: ) need an electrolytic solution (they use baking soda to make the water basic- high pH). With this new catalyst, that's not needed.
     
  8. Aceshigh

    Aceshigh Veteran Member Lifetime Gold Member

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    Dude, just so you know.....the nations most intelligent engineering people attend MIT.
    It's like Harvard......;)

    When you think of the most prestigious school for lawyers, businessmen, etc.....you think Harvard.
    When you think of the most intelligent engineers , you think MIT.

    I thought it was done already before this.....I must be missing something here...
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2008
  9. 80ZnTexas

    80ZnTexas Veteran Member

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    I forgot to add the [sarcasm][/sarcasm] tags to that quote. :) :)
     
  10. TheFly

    TheFly Guest

    There are more cows on the planet then people in china, they put out plenty of gas to make that happen.
     

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