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Up until now scientists thought that only the electrical charge separation effects of photons were strong enough to produce energy from sunlight.  (Source: Aether Wave Theory)

Researchers have discovered a novel new effect which produces energy when intense light passes through an insulating material like glass, creating a strong magnetic field.  (Source: Galucci's Catering)
New energy harvesting devices would leverage magnetism effects, rather than electric ones

Mankind currently only harvests a minuscule fraction of the estimated 12.2 billion kilowatt-hours of solar energy that hits the Earth every day [source].  It would seem a great folly not to pursue methods to try to harness this power affordably.  But current solar technology relies on solar cells that are still rather expensive and often have durability issues.

That's why a new breakthrough in alternative energy at the University of Michigan is so exciting.  It promises solar power -- without the expensive cells.

No, it's not some novel photosynthesis scheme.  The new technology relies on a physics principle previously considered a trivial side note.

I.  Magnetic Solar Energy -- a Radical Breakthrough

Light has two components -- magnetism and electricity.  All solar cells currently utilize the electric effects of light.  The magnetic nature of photons was dismissed as too weak to be of any use. 

But Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics at U of M, was fascinated by this property.  He wondered whether it could be somehow put to use.

During his investigations he discovered something unexpected.  When light passes through a strongly insulating material, its normally weak magnetic output is profoundly multiplied and a relatively strong magnetic field results.

In fact, the field is 100 million times stronger than previously expected -- strong enough to produce the kind of large magnetic effect needed for power generation.

Professor Rand admits the results will shock many physicists.  He states, "You could stare at the equations of motion all day and you will not see this possibility. We've all been taught that this doesn't happen. It's a very odd interaction. That's why it's been overlooked for more than 100 years."

II. How it Works

The magnetic effect comes from a unique type of "optical rectification".  Optical rectification is a general physics term that refers to what light does when it enters certain materials.

Previously, the best-known type of optical rectification was the charge separation that light created when passing into certain kinds of crystalline materials (like crystalline silicon).  This electric effect produces a voltage and is the foundation of modern solar cells.
Professor Rand and his Ph.D. candidate student, William Fisher, discovered a radical new type of optical rectification.  In certain materials, they found, the magnetic field of light was strong enough to bend electric charges into a 'C' shape.

Describes Fisher, "It turns out that the magnetic field starts curving the electrons into a C-shape and they move forward a little each time. That C-shape of charge motion generates both an electric dipole and a magnetic dipole. If we can set up many of these in a row in a long fiber, we can make a huge voltage and by extracting that voltage, we can use it as a power source."

So what's the catch?  Ah, there's always a catch with anything that seems great, it seems. 

The "catch" here is the material.  In order to exhibit this effect, light must be shown on an insulator like glass.  Glass, however, needs incredibly intense light to produce this effect -- 10 million watts per square centimeter.  Normal sunlight only produces around 0.012 watts per square centimeter when shining.

III. Applications

One solution would be to create hardware to magnify the intensity of incoming sunlight, similar to the technique used in concentrated solar cells.  

Mr. Fisher states, "In our most recent paper, we show that incoherent light like sunlight is theoretically almost as effective in producing charge separation as laser light is. To manufacture modern solar cells, you have to do extensive semiconductor processing. All we would need are lenses to focus the light and a fiber to guide it. Glass works for both. It's already made in bulk, and it doesn't require as much processing. Transparent ceramics might be even better."

Using novel materials, he and his professor expect that the necessary intensity for the effect can be dropped to much lower levels.  They postulate that the sunlight conversion efficiency of cells with such new materials could likely reach 10 percent -- on par with current generation solar cells.

They say the costs associated with such magnetic solar power devices would be much lower, though, as they use non-rare materials like amorphous silicon (glass) and don't rely on expensive processes like semiconductor fabrication.

IV. What's Next?

Professor Rand and his student will experiment this summer with producing electricity from intensified sunlight and from laser light -- a directly intensified form of light.  After that wraps up, they hope to look into novel materials to exploit the novel effect at lower intensities.

The team also states that it is in the process of patenting their discovery, as it may one day grow into a lucrative power source.

For now you can read their paper "Optically-induced charge separation and terahertz emission in unbiased dielectrics" [abstract] if you have a subscription to the Journal of Applied Physics.



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Advancements
By Raiders12 on 4/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Advancements
By Motoman on 4/15/2011 10:11:51 AM , Rating: 3
Do we need "green" energy? Sure.

Why is Exxon posting $20B in profit? Because there's still oil around.

Is solar a "necessary" energy technology...eh, prolly not. Right now, nuclear is the only technology that can be said to be "necessary" as it's all we have right now that will dependably produce the massive amounts of energy modern society consumes - and doesn't use non-renewable energy sources like oil or natural gas.

Right now, solar, wind, tidal, etc. can't power the earth. Not unless you want to give up your iPlods and microwaves.

So do the research, see if we can make alternative energy technology effective and efficient enough to ramp up to society-supporting scales - maybe all those options will, maybe they won't. In the meantime, and for the foreseeable future, it's nuclear.


RE: Advancements
By Raiders12 on 4/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Advancements
By Nutzo on 4/15/2011 12:57:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
but $20,$30, or $40 billion in profits is ridiculous


What's rediculous is that while you complain about big oil's profits, the government collects more in taxes from big oil than thier profits.


RE: Advancements
By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 5:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
This is a very odd statement to me as I understand it corporate taxes are a percentage of profits how can a part be larger than the whole
Also odd in my search for numbers relating to taxes paid by energy companies I have seen many that it seems pay almost no corporate tax and contribute only the income tax withheld from employees


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 5:50:11 PM , Rating: 2
The gov't gets a lot of revenue from taxes on gasoline; I'm assuming that's what he was talking about.


RE: Advancements
By Fritzr on 4/16/2011 10:49:36 PM , Rating: 1
Income taxes are a percentage of pre-tax profits. In addition there may be other taxes that are calculated independently of gross revenues.

Net profit is gross income minus ALL expenses including taxes.

So if the total tax levied minus subsidies is greater than net profit, then the statement is perfectly sensible. I deducted subsidies as those are effectively negative taxation.


RE: Advancements
By invidious on 4/18/2011 9:55:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Income taxes are a percentage of pre-tax profits.
Businesses are not taxed on profits, they are taxed on income just like individuals. If income tax was based on profit don't you thin it would be called profit tax or gains tax?


RE: Advancements
By Strandwolf on 4/19/2011 3:04:52 AM , Rating: 1
haha. Net income, after overhead. Wow. How much in taxes did Exxon pay in 2010? Hint: about nuthin'


RE: Advancements
By Spuke on 4/21/2011 3:28:18 PM , Rating: 2
Funny, I read ExxonMobil paid 21.6 billion in income taxes last year. BTW, they're taxed at the 45% rate. Yuck!


RE: Advancements
By Wiggy Mcshades on 4/15/2011 1:29:41 PM , Rating: 3
There's no such thing as a profit that's too large. They sell a commodity, that means their profits can and will get larger as the demand rises. Prices for everything rise with their demand, why should oil be any different? If you cant pay the price of gas it's no one's fault but your own.


RE: Advancements
By tng on 4/19/2011 8:54:52 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
profits can and will get larger as the demand rises
I love how everybody hammers oil companies on profits that they make and that it is unfair somehow.

Most of the oil companies that people love to demonize make less profit as a percentage of sales than most companies.

However if a company makes a 6-8% profit and the price of that commodity doubles, so does the profit. It is a simple function of profit as percentage of the sales. If the people who complain about this stuff don't understand something this simple......


RE: Advancements
By magneticfield on 4/15/2011 10:23:40 AM , Rating: 2
Erm, what?


RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: Advancements
By Motoman on 4/15/2011 10:32:23 AM , Rating: 2
...making full use of the most easily and economically accessible fuel source first is selfish and lazy?

Or do you just think that corporations don't have a duty to their shareholders to make money?


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Advancements
By ClownPuncher on 4/15/2011 10:58:47 AM , Rating: 3
Unicorn smoke causes Black Lung.


RE: Advancements
By adhan24 on 4/15/2011 12:01:13 PM , Rating: 3
It's refreshing to see the use of the word 'logic' in the same context as a straw man argument... it gives the post that full circle feeling.


RE: Advancements
By FITCamaro on 4/15/2011 12:38:05 PM , Rating: 2
Unicorns fart a lot which causes global warming. That's why they were all killed by the crab people.


RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2011 2:45:55 PM , Rating: 1
Bud, its too late. Everyone knows you talk out of your ass. No need to say unicorns.


RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2011 2:42:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The world should run on rainbows and unicorns and sunlight


It should, but it runs on finite resources. Next time their is a $2 trillion dollar war to secure the region these "cheap and available" resources reside, make sure you are the first one to offer up your money and kids to go fight that war.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2011 4:19:36 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Do you realize how obvious it is that you feed from the trough of idiot Liberals? It's tripe of the lowest quality, and it makes YOU look like a moron when you repeat it.


Repeat what exactly? Use of common sense?

You speak of facts without quoting ANY to back it up. Let's start with this tiny insignificant oversight of yours. Oil reserves. In fact, Iraq is actually 4th in the world in proven oil reserves. 3rd, if you exclude Canada's oil sands region as it is a slightly newer process and will not reach capacities of traditional drilling for several years...

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene_oil_res-ener...

But right, lets not trivialize over facts. Especially not the general exaggeration about their being more oil in the U.S... Five of the top six largest oil reserves are Middle East countries. The U.S. proven reserves at 1/25 that of what's in the Middle East.

The facts I stated are a war to establish security in the Middle East region. Is that not what the war was about? A TERRIBLE dictator was in control of a country that threatened our allies... Who is our ally in the Middle East? Israel? Yes. Saudi Arabia? Yes. Can you name 2 of the top 10 U.S. oil exporters of crude oil?? Might surprise you that I have already named them.

http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_...

But then, I must be getting that information from some idiot Liberal and not Google searching like those people with that thing.... common sense...


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/11, Rating: 0
RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/15/2011 5:48:35 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
We took NO oil from Iraq, this is still an absolute fact that you aren't even trying to disprove because you can't.


http://www.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.a...

Took, as in stole? No, but that doesn't change the fact that the US does import oil from Iraq. Now exports have actually been decreasing because of damage to infrastructure and shipping. Any talk of future exports from Iraq is pure speculation, but what is fact is the increased US influence in the Middle East. It could wind up like Saudi Arabia where there is a permanent US military base there to safeguard the US interests that were fought for in the war.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 5:55:55 PM , Rating: 1
So we go to war to secure exports we were already getting?

Right. Ok. Have a nice day...


RE: Advancements
By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 6:20:33 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I thought the MIddle East WAS stable and secure until the "imperialistic" United States showed up and made everything worst. Isn't that what your side claims?

-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran#Recent_history_....
-
we are directly responsible for the conditions leading to the islamic revolution in Iran
This is fun because it is unabashedly motivated by the control of oil
-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq#Republic_of_Iraq
-
we are directly responsible for the baath party ruling Iraq because of our fear of communism
-
We had been constant supporters of Mubarak and his illegal control of Egypt
-
KSA I don't even know where to start but the obvious ties between the US and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and their policy on equal rights and representation say allot
-
Syria again with the baath party although i guess they were better than the french lol
-
in conclusion the middle east WAS screwed by imperialism we just forget that the US has been in the game since Teddy Roosevelt and just went nuts on empire building with Eisenhower


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/15/2011 4:28:47 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There's more oil right here in the U.S than in Iraq and the Middle East put together.


You are a liar. This is a categorically false statement that cannot be supported by any real data. What the bloody h*** is wrong with you or what are you after?

Proven oil reserves by nation(CIA 2010 fact book):

https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world...

Iraq
115,000,000,000 (8.26%)

United States
19,120,000,000 (1.37%)

Combined Middle East
828,004,740,000 (59.46%)

You're so full of sh*t, it's coming out your mouth.


RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2011 4:34:50 PM , Rating: 2
Nice.

Maybe both of our sources are idiot liberals making up scientific data.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 5:17:24 PM , Rating: 2
Both of you left out shale oil. How convenient.

The simple fact is we don't even KNOW how much oil we have because exploration is banned where most of the oil is. Hello?


RE: Advancements
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/16/2011 3:48:52 AM , Rating: 2
Reclaimer, let's face it. The USA isn't stupid. They are going to use up everyone else's oil as much as they can before using their own. They have no choice. If a war is ever fought over oil, the country who has the most will be the biggest influence. Or the country who can take it. It's too bad we're not "one world" and can just share everything with everyone :(


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/16/2011 9:43:25 AM , Rating: 2
After some checking, it appears that the CIA fact-book includes both.

Their definition (paraphrased):

Proven oil reserves are those that are known to exist and be exploitable to a high degree of certainty, including bitumen and shale.

Once again, you're either a liar or an ignoramus.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: Advancements
By damonlynch on 4/17/2011 12:51:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
No, I was just wrong. Can't someone be wrong? Look, I'll be honest. It sounded really good when I wrote it. Sue me lol.

That perfectly sums up the quality of your contributions to discussion on Daily Tech, over many months -- egotistical, ignorant and ultimately worthless.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2011 12:57:05 AM , Rating: 1
Thanks! You know, I make it look easy. But there's really more to it than it seems.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:41:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
exploitable to a high degree of certainty

That doesn't mean anything with regards to amounts of oil under respective regions; it just means one region's oil is easier to get than another.

"Exploitable" just means "can we expect to make a profit?" The amount of "exploitable" oil grows as the price of gasoline goes up.

To sum up: It has not been established whether or not the United States or Iraq has more oil under it; only that Iraq's oil is easier - for one reason or another - to get.


RE: Advancements
By Solandri on 4/15/2011 1:07:45 PM , Rating: 2
While I agree with you that green energy sources need to be economically viable and competitive with our current sources, OP is partly correct in the "selfish" assessment. Fossil fuels are low-cost partly because they're able to externalize their negatives. The damage from the pollution they put out (acid rain, mercury in fish, lung cancer deaths) is not paid for by the person who burns the fuel, it's distributed around the world and thus paid for by everyone regardless of whether or not they personally benefited from the burning of the fuel. This tragedy of the commons is the primary justification for government mandated pollution standards.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_common...

This is essentially the same argument I make when advocating nuclear power from a safety standpoint. Normally when you consider the economic cost of burning fossil fuels, you do not factor in the external deaths it causes. By comparing the number of deaths per TWh of each energy source under the guise of safety, I'm bringing this externality into the "cost" comparison of the different energy sources.

To bring the comparison full circle, you would then convert the deaths to $, and charge their costs to the source as an extra $ cost per unit of energy (e.g. gallon of gas, or ton of coal). We do not currently do this, so the price of fossil fuels does not fully account for this externality, and thus OP is correct that a cost comparison based strictly on production costs is "selfish".


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/15/2011 2:19:45 PM , Rating: 2
You realize that only a fraction of crude oil is turned into gasoline, right?


RE: Advancements
By Solandri on 4/15/2011 3:06:00 PM , Rating: 2
Yes I know about 5%-10% is turned into plastics and other materials like tar and asphalt. But over 90% of it is burned as fuel.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 2:31:01 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But over 90% of it is burned as fuel.

Less than half of a barrel of crude oil is used as gasoline.


RE: Advancements
By Solandri on 4/16/2011 9:20:05 AM , Rating: 2
You do realize there are other fuels than gasoline that all get burned? Diesel, aviation fuel (closest to kerosene), heating oil, etc.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:38:54 PM , Rating: 2
I mentioned only gasoline, and for a good reason: There's no significant national/global pressure to replace kerosene to "get us off foreign oil". The ultimate point is that even if EVERYBODY stopped using gasoline, we would still be making gasoline.


RE: Advancements
By Fritzr on 4/16/2011 11:34:52 PM , Rating: 2
Biofuel for aircraft is currently being tested. The end of cheap oil means the end of cheap aviation fuel unless a substitute can be found. Electric cars are viable, electric planes are not. Another fuel being considered as a replacement for aviation fuel is hydrogen.

As for kerosene, there is pressure to find a replacement for jet fuel & heating oil (just 2 of the uses for kerosenes)

When the oil runs out the airlines will be grounded unless an alternate fuel is found that allows commercial aircraft to fly. So yes the aviation industry is busy researching alternate fuels because they are feeling the pinch of petroleum shortages.

Governments are researching alternatives due to the fact that if the military does not have fuel & lubricants they will have a hard time taking their vehicles to war. An alternative is to ensure that the countries with oil reserves remain friendly ... US has a long history of destroying foreign governments that fail to ally with Washington.

The barrel of oil that gasoline is made from also provides kerosene, heating oil, grease and aviation fuels. A petroleum shortage or price hike affects ALL products that are made from petroleum oil, whether it is pumped from oil wells, extracted from shale, oil sands or made from coal. There is renewable petroleum now on the market, but it is still a little more expensive than the fossil version.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2011 12:47:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When the oil runs out


You mean IF don't you?


RE: Advancements
By Solandri on 4/17/2011 2:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
So basically, what you're saying has nothing to do with what I originally wrote?

quote:
I mentioned only gasoline, and for a good reason: There's no significant national/global pressure to replace kerosene to "get us off foreign oil".

About 10% of a barrel of oil gets turned into aviation fuel (c.f. 45% gasoline). If you ask the airline industry, there's tremendous pressure to stabilize kerosene prices.

quote:
The ultimate point is that even if EVERYBODY stopped using gasoline, we would still be making gasoline.

Biofuels (without skewing economic subsidies) would be carbon and energy neutral. Ultimately, due to how much easier it is to convert plant matter to alcohols, and how much cleaner they burn than petroleum-based hydrocarbons, I think the long-term mobile energy storage medium is going to be alcohol-based fuels, not gasoline, nor chemical batteries.

The exception may be air travel - the higher energy per mass density of petroleum fuels presents a significant advantage in that industry.


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/15/2011 1:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
...making full use of the most easily and economically accessible fuel source first is selfish and lazy?


No.

I would argue that humans are selfish, lazy and irresponsible by nature. Ergo, the exploitation of cheap and plentiful resources to their complete exhaustion as quickly as possible is merely following our nature to its logical conclusion.

The problem is that we need to dedicate enough resources to develop other technologies before the ones that can be exhausted, are. The way we are currently living is like trying to paddle upstream with a paddle that is dissolving more quickly with each stroke. Eventually we'll either need a new paddle or let ourselves be swept down stream at the mercy of the river.

Who is to say how much needs to be dedicated and when? Nobody can know. That's the paradox of our energy future.

We know we need energy to continue our way of life. We know that individual energy usage is growing. We know that energy will be divided amongst more and more people. We know that we will need to spend some of it developing replacements to allow the above growth-upon-growth model or face the consequences.

What those replacements are and how/if we will build them before exhaustion of our currently cheap resources cannot yet be known for sure. What is known are the consequences; famine, disease, exposure, war, will all be born from the desperation that arises as demand eventually completely eclipses the supply.

The pillars of modern society are the golden triad of energy, agriculture and finance. If any one of them fails for a sufficiently long enough period of time, the other two will collapse as well and there will be chaos. In modern agriculture, we literally convert petroleum into food. Most of the currency in the world exists only in electronic form. Without food to buy or the money to buy it, what are people left with but desperation and desperate action?

Since the only thing I can do as a non-violent person is express my own opinions/principles/disobedience, live by example and vote; I can't wait to see how this all plays out.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/15/2011 2:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
Did you know that "gasoline" is just a byproduct of turning crude oil into a whole host of other useful things, right? And that if it weren't used for fuel it would simply be toxic waste sitting around, pollutin' the land, gettin' in our food, killin' us directly, right?


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/15/2011 2:37:39 PM , Rating: 2
Don't patronize me spoofetard... I work in the oil and gas industry and you know full well that is known to anyone with enough of an interest to bother looking into it.

I see your strawman and raise you an ad hominem. That's a cute little straw-man you built there considering has no pertinence to anything I said at all. Does he have a name? Lil Spoofe Jr. perhaps? Blank look, devoid of understanding, I can see the family resemblance.

How about trying facts on for size.

Did you know that the overwhelming majority of forward energy forecasts from the government, my employer and others are based around the caveat 'at current levels of consumption'? I find that interesting considering the population of the earth is scheduled to essentially double within the window (next 65 years) of these forecasts? How can you even make a forecast without taking into account that there will be another 6 billion consumers? These 6 billion are to be denied access so that we can keep living like we're living, right?

It's absurd.


RE: Advancements
By BSMonitor on 4/15/2011 2:56:52 PM , Rating: 2
Why wait for future forecasts of population growth. Imagine right now if even 50% of Chinese and Indian people started consuming fuels as quickly as American citizens do.


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/15/2011 3:18:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why wait for future forecasts of population growth. Imagine right now if even 50% of Chinese and Indian people started consuming fuels as quickly as American citizens do.


This is something I alluded to, but didn't touch on directly. When you look at world fuel usage per capita you wind up with a situation where ~20% of the world population is using ~70% of the fuel. The other 80% of people get to compete for the remaining supply among themselves. As quality of life improves for this other 80%, their demand for energy is going to grow accordingly and we'll have no choice but to increase production, or to increase prices and hedge them out with buying power.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 2:51:54 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Don't patronize me spoofetard

Sensitive! Well, I certainly wasn't before, but I sure will now.

quote:
work in the oil and gas industry and you know full well that is known to anyone with enough of an interest to bother looking into it.

Which is a pitiful number of people; surely one so wise as you - after all, you work in the oil and gas industry, a sector of society known for its exceedingly brilliant individuals - would recognize the need to educate those that DON'T have an interest in looking into it, since it is overwhelmingly their actions that dictate the course of a society.

quote:
see your strawman and raise you an ad hominem.

Sure; why start not being an imbecile now, Mr. Oil And Gas Industry?

quote:
That's a cute little straw-man you built there considering has no pertinence to anything I said at all.

So is it not pertinent or is it a strawman? A strawman, by definition, HAS to be pertinent, else it's just a non sequitur.

quote:
How about trying facts on for size.

Clothes, Mr. Oil And Gasbag genius. People try on clothes. Facts are for people that don't disintegrate into drooling blobs of cretinism as you did.

quote:
Did you know that the overwhelming majority of forward energy forecasts from the government, my employer and others are based around the caveat 'at current levels of consumption'

Yes. I also know that there's more than one caveat they use. For instance, 'at current market price' is another, and market price dictates what reserves can be profitably tapped. Shale, for instance, doesn't become cost effective until the price of gasoline goes even higher.

quote:
I find that interesting considering the population of the earth is scheduled to essentially double within the window (next 65 years) of these forecasts?

Are you questioning whether or not you find that interesting? Because outside of the question market, that sentence of yours wasn't phrased like a question. For normal, declarative sentences like that, one just uses a "."

And anyway, nobody "schedules" the population of the planet. They can anticipate it or try to predict it, but there's no schedule. For instance, did ya know that some UN models predict population DECLINE post-2050?

quote:
How can you even make a forecast without taking into account that there will be another 6 billion consumers?

When I make a forecast I'll let you know, Mr. Gasbag Oil Genius Man.

quote:
These 6 billion are to be denied access so that we can keep living like we're living, right?

Why not? What magical rule says "everyone that ever might exist deserves the same as everyone that does exist"?

quote:
It's absurd.

Cree-ee-eepy, that was the first thought I had after reading your post, Mr. Oily Gasbag.


RE: Advancements
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/16/2011 3:57:57 AM , Rating: 2
Did you actually have to use the word "cretinism" without knowing he has a thyroid problem?


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:47:24 PM , Rating: 2
If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, and has the IQ of a duck, it must be Iaiken!


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/16/2011 9:53:12 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What magical rule says "everyone that ever might exist deserves the same as everyone that does exist"?


There you have it folks... Spoofie hates your children. If you're not American, he hate's them even more.

I can only construe from this that you also extend that same enmity to the those people who currently don't yet have equal rights as the west.

Since we're niggling on spelling and grammar points instead of the validity of the points themselves:

quote:
cretinism


The adjective you are looking for is: "cretinous"

For example:

You really are a disgusting and cretinous human being; I want you to know I despise you.

In conclusion, go die screaming in a fire. Please use our oil, it burns well and for a long time.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 9:59:46 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
There you have it folks... Spoofie hates your children. If you're not American, he hate's them even more.


No I think he just rejects your Collectivist thinking. And for the record, so do I.

People who try to make me feel bad or somehow responsible for my quality of living bore me. It's not our fault other places have it worst off.

quote:
I can only construe from this that you also extend that same enmity to the those people who currently don't yet have equal rights as the west.


No country, and I mean NO country has done more for people's rights around the world then the "west". No nation has sacrificed more of it's blood and tears in shitholes around in the world so that others, who would NOT do the same for us, can be free.


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/16/2011 10:09:51 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
No country, and I mean NO country has done more for people's rights around the world then the "west". No nation has sacrificed more of it's blood and tears in shitholes around in the world so that others, who would NOT do the same for us, can be free.


What the west has or hasn't done for others is irrelevant to the context of a statement intent on singling out spoofes contemptuous views according to his statement. To suggest that I was trying extend that to those people who believe the opposite as he is disingenuous and dishonest.


RE: Advancements
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 10:17:55 AM , Rating: 2
Ok thanks for clearing that up. Just wanted to be sure.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:49:31 PM , Rating: 2
You're the one that thinks people that don't exist have the same rights as people that do. I only have contempt for feel-good ninnies like you that wring your hands searching for reasons to hate other people, when the truth is you only hate yourself and your lousy, no-future janitorial job for some third-rate kerosene company in Bumfudge, Nowhere.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 5:03:30 PM , Rating: 2
Further, can I just note the irony of your accusing me of hate, whereas it was you that started this whole thing off with "I would argue that humans are selfish, lazy and irresponsible by nature"?

I may hate children, but you apparently hate EVERYONE. Moral high ground, what? :D


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:46:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There you have it folks... Spoofie hates your children.

You MUST be menstruating.

quote:
I can only construe from this that you also extend that same enmity to the those people who currently don't yet have equal rights as the west.

People that exist have rights. People that don't, don't.

quote:
The adjective you are looking for is: "cretinous"

Language is organic; you obviously knew what I meant, so therefore my word choice was correct. If Shakespeare can invent new words, why can't I?

quote:
You really are a disgusting and cretinous human being; I want you to know I despise you.

I'm sorry being wrong makes you so emotional. What is it you do for the Oil and Gas industry? Janitor?

quote:
In conclusion, go die screaming in a fire.

Concession accepted. Nice talking with you. I learned some very interesting things and you helped me grow as a person. Thank you, sir. :)


RE: Advancements
By Iaiken on 4/16/2011 10:16:33 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
So is it not pertinent or is it a strawman? A strawman, by definition, HAS to be pertinent, else it's just a non sequitur.


No, a strawman need only be similar and can be composed of impertinent information that was constructed to give the seeming of relevance. Meanwhile, a non sequitur requires a fundamental disconnect between the premise and the conclusion. Finally, an argument can be both a strawman and a non sequitur at the same time.

What you said was both a made up position that was easy to defeat "that we shouldn't burn any fuel at all" that wasn't pertinent to what I had said "that we should invest more of our existing energy reserves into the development of alternatives to fossil fuels". Since you posed it in the form of a question, it makes no conclusion and therefore cannot be a non sequitur.

But why listen to me, I've already been defeated by your reasoning that I can't be trusted because "he don't spell or grammar too good, he'yuk."

Imbecile.


RE: Advancements
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 4:55:35 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What you said was both a made up position that was easy to defeat

And yet you're incapable of defeating it, so you seeth with rage and throw out random terms for logical fallacies that you and your Oil-Gas Janitor education has left you only semi-capable of understanding.

quote:
Since you posed it in the form of a question, it makes no conclusion and therefore cannot be a non sequitur.

Since I posed it in the form of a question, it can't be a strawman. Strawmen are declarative, not inquisitive. Conversely, non sequiturs certainly can be inquisitive (or declarative, or any damn thing at all, really).

I get it; you thought you could be the big shot, bragging about "working in the oil and gas industry" (pushing a broom), and you're pissed off that nobody's impressed. Because it doesn't matter what authority you claim to have if you're wrong. And you, buddy, you've turned "being wrong" into an art.

quote:
Imbecile.

If you'd stop calling yourself that in the mirror every morning, maybe you'd have the spirit and resolve to be something other than a janitor! C'mon, man! Make something of yourself!


RE: Advancements
By JediJeb on 4/15/2011 12:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Right now, solar, wind, tidal, etc. can't power the earth. Not unless you want to give up your iPlods and microwaves. So do the research, see if we can make alternative energy technology effective and efficient enough to ramp up to society-supporting scales - maybe all those options will, maybe they won't. In the meantime, and for the foreseeable future, it's nuclear.


If we would learn to get by with less computing power how much electricity would that save in a years time? With the technology we have now, how low of a power usage would it be to make a computer that would run something like Windows 3.1 or Windows 95 at blazing fast speeds? Computers today use the power more efficiently than they did 15 years ago, yet we use more power overall because the software today tries to do so much more, often times far more than is actually needed.

At work we could get by with software that created much smaller files like the original Word did compared to the file sizes of today's office products. If we still used the software from back then we could get by with half the hard drives we now use, and honestly most of our documents are no more sophisticated now than they were then, only the format makes them larger. The software for the instruments in the lab produce files that are sometimes 10x larger, and yet we could get by with the smaller files from before, but the instrument manufacturers no longer produce or support the old software, so we just have to pack on more storage for literally no reason.

So many people want to "Go Green" yet they still demand more power from their gadgets which in turn demands more power from the power plants. If you really look at it, all the gains we have made in efficiency over the years have been gobbled up by making the more efficient things do more work which just makes them use the same amount of power.


RE: Advancements
By Solandri on 4/15/2011 1:11:53 PM , Rating: 2
This is actually a well-studied paradox. Increased efficiency actually leads to more consumption, not less.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jevons_paradox


RE: Advancements
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/16/2011 4:03:37 AM , Rating: 2
Well, considering how smartphones are replacing things like GPS, alarm clocks, cameras, video cameras, mp3 players, cordless and wired phones, HD players (yes, even those), computers and tons of other stuff... I'd say we're saving electricity?


RE: Advancements
By vol7ron on 4/18/2011 12:24:50 AM , Rating: 2
Technically, nuclear energy is produced by a steam powered turbine. That steam is created using Uranium, which while plentiful in the Earth's crust, is a non-renewable source of energy.


RE: Advancements
By sfi2k7 on 4/18/2011 7:11:00 AM , Rating: 2
I do not why people become so defensive when we talk about corporate profit or any thing concerning big busniess. This fake war that between the evil government and evil corporations is getting too old. Strted to sound like a broken record. There is no difference between our government or the big evil corporations, right it down somewhere. We are and have been a faciest state for a long time. It is time we should get over this facts and live with it. Otherwise you keep playing this game forever and they keep laughing all the way to the bank while destroying the future of our kids and grandkids without any resistence from us. Right now 'green' energy has been hijacked by big oil, they are setting our expectation. They are playing game with us. They are equalizing their profit and investment on green energy based on supply and demond of no green products.
P.s. Government is just a pawn of big busineess and a puching bag for us to put our anger into and it is there to give us a false idea of freedom.


RE: Advancements
By sam33r on 4/18/2011 9:16:18 AM , Rating: 2
"Is solar a "necessary" energy technology...eh, prolly not."

Solar has fueled all living forms of life on this planet. It's a renewable resource and available to everyone. To say it's not a "necessary technology is just about the most unintuitive and ignorant comment I have ever heard.

Nuclear is great but limited - we'll run out of uranium eventually and need to revamp our energy plans to reduce wasteful electricity consumption. We need to build sustainable societies with economic incentives. Companies will be motivated by cost saving measures, reduce their energy consumption, invest in renewable energy retrofits and new development should aim at 0 energy buildings. In fact it should be mandated at some point.

One we've gradually tapered off our increased energy usage we'll slowly reduce the amount of energy we consume from non-renewable sources. This is the only intelligent long term solution.


RE: Advancements
By deathwombat on 4/18/2011 2:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that we need nuclear power, but on what planet does nuclear power not require non-renewable resources? There is a finite supply of uranium and, unlike oil, the supply of uranium will never recover. In fact, the world's supply of uranium will eventually dry up even if we don't use it!


RE: Advancements
By DarthKaos on 4/19/2011 11:13:21 AM , Rating: 2
There is no one energy that will save us from oil. We need a combination of power sources so we don't end up right back where we are. Like the article says there is always a catch to anything that seems too good to be true. For oil that catch is that the resource is limited and nonrenewable and it causes pollution. There are catches to nuclear, wind, geothermal, and solar too. If we don't put all our eggs in one basket, those "catches" become more manageable and our future energy needs will be more reliable.


RE: Advancements
By jconan on 4/24/2011 4:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
We definitely do need an alternative to oil, just look at the environmental impact that oil is causing for communities living around Canada's Oil Sand. It's horrible, and people living in communities there next to site develop cancer at a higher rate and water has to be imported in as the river is contaminated with pollutants...


RE: Advancements
By bug77 on 4/15/2011 11:14:42 AM , Rating: 2
Hypocrites... You'd think after pledging to go green, the next logical step would be burning Exxon at the stake.


10 million watts per square centimeter
By mattclary on 4/15/2011 10:07:43 AM , Rating: 1
This is f-ing retarded. We are probably closer to having anti-matter power generation and replicators.




RE: 10 million watts per square centimeter
By mattclary on 4/15/2011 10:09:23 AM , Rating: 3
...AND, if we can produce just, say, ONE million watts per centimeter, we would probably generate more electricity using steam to run a generator.


RE: 10 million watts per square centimeter
By Motoman on 4/15/2011 10:14:17 AM , Rating: 4
...what do you think they do with the heat produced by nuke plants? It makes steam to run a generator.

...might be nice to just pull electricity straight from the source.


By mattclary on 4/15/2011 12:42:55 PM , Rating: 3
You missed my point.


By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 6:42:09 PM , Rating: 2
While using steam is currently more efficient we must look toward the future developing this technology would according to the article involve increasing the ability of the materials to produce the effect with lower intensity of light my guess is through doping of the glass?
We also have to address the availability of water for use in power production currently the largest user of water in the US is power generation and the largest user of power is water pumping and purification


By Hulk on 4/15/2011 10:53:38 AM , Rating: 1
Exactly.


RE: 10 million watts per square centimeter
By Some1ne on 4/16/2011 4:08:00 AM , Rating: 5
That's what I thought, until I did the math:

10 million watts / 0.012 watts per square centimeter = 833,333,333 square centimeters needed at standard solar intensity

833,333,333 square centimeters = 83,333 square meters

So if you could focus the sun's energy perfectly onto a one-square-centimeter sized target, you only need about a 300 meter by 300 meter plot of land, which is not at all unreasonable.

Of course, that number assumes near-perfect efficiency in terms of collection and targeting of the solar energy. If we assume a 20% efficiency for these two tasks then the deployment would need ~400,000 square meters (roughly 630 meters by 630 meters), which seems like a lot until you realize that the Ivanpah Solar Installation[1] is going to use 3.4 million square meters per 100 MW generator.

By comparison, constructing a minimally sized proof of concept plant to demonstrate this new generating technology seems feasible. It will almost certainly require advances in terms of solar collection and targeting technology, but it should not be impossible, or even "f-ing retarded" or more difficult than creating a self-sustaining anti-matter generation system.

1. http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=21356


By mattclary on 4/18/2011 12:29:15 PM , Rating: 2
I think you made a mistake. It needs 10 million watts PER centimeter of glass to get the effect.

Making the glass larger is not going to help.

As an example:
A calorie is defined as the amount of energy required to raise 1 gram of water one degree Celsius. If it takes 4.1868 joules per gram of water, increasing the amount of water is not going to allow you to heat water quicker.


That's cool and all...
By judasmachine on 4/15/2011 11:30:43 AM , Rating: 4
but can we just start construction of the Dyson Sphere already? Maybe just a Dyson half ring?




RE: That's cool and all...
By Dfere on 4/15/2011 6:37:25 PM , Rating: 2
Uh.. Which half?


RE: That's cool and all...
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 2:16:25 AM , Rating: 5
The half that's in daylight, duh! Why bother trying to collect energy from the sun's night side?


RE: That's cool and all...
By PitViper007 on 4/19/2011 3:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ok, that made me laugh. Thanks!


RE: That's cool and all...
By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 6:49:06 PM , Rating: 2
I may be wrong but in high school someone said that to get the materials to build a dyson sphere we would need the mass of all the planets and other bodies in the solar system


Those kinda big numbers...
By Redwin on 4/15/2011 10:04:39 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
10 million watts per square centimeter. Normal sunlight only produces around 0.012 watts per square centimeter when shining.


So, we just need a lens with an area of around 83,333m^2 that can focus the entirety of its gathered light on 1cm^2. And how much electricity does that 1cm^2 of glass produce if you do this? Are we SURE it wouldn't just melt? :)

Seriously though, the "improvements" they predict they can create in the efficiency of the effect better be pretty significant if this is ever going to be more than just a curious bit of physics.




RE: Those kinda big numbers...
By AnnihilatorX on 4/15/2011 12:02:07 PM , Rating: 2
Baby steps, there will always be breakthroughs such as novel materials. Glass is not exactly designed for this, and there is room for optimisation and find a novel material which does it better.


RE: Those kinda big numbers...
By Schrag4 on 4/15/2011 12:59:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
So, we just need a lens with an area of around 83,333m^2 that can focus the entirety of its gathered light on 1cm^2. And how much electricity does that 1cm^2 of glass produce if you do this? Are we SURE it wouldn't just melt? :)


We're SURE it WOULD just melt :-p


RE: Those kinda big numbers...
By geekman1024 on 4/15/2011 10:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
but 10 million watts is still a far cry from 1.21 jigga watts!

how long do I still have to wait before I can go back to the future?


Patents
By wiz220 on 4/15/2011 12:33:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The team also states that it is in the process of patenting their discovery


This sort of thing worries me. Exactly what they are patenting wasn't stated explicitly, but it sure sounds like they will patent the physical properties themselves. It's sorta like patenting genes, I don't think that people should be able to patent a naturally occurring phenomenon, only things created by people to make use of that phenomenon. For example, if this team creates a machine or a technique to harness power from this discovery, that would make sense as a patent.




RE: Patents
By Digimonkey on 4/15/2011 4:21:34 PM , Rating: 1
It's not like patents last forever. You need some incentive for companies to do the research. Giving them 14-20 years to enjoy the spoils of their discovery seems to suffice.


Solar power is increasing viable
By chimacintosh on 4/15/2011 5:24:01 PM , Rating: 1
There is a great pilot project being doing at Abu Dhabi. You can learn more about it here.

http://chimac.net/2010/06/12/abu-dhabi-plans-world...




By TexMurphy on 4/16/2011 7:11:59 AM , Rating: 2
Link us to the original article,not to your blogspam. Here, I'll do it for you:

http://dvice.com/archives/2010/06/worlds-largest-1...

Enjoy your reduced hits.


U of M?
By baconsnake on 4/15/2011 2:00:25 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
But Stephen Rand, a professor in the departments of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Physics and Applied Physics at U of M, was fascinated by this property.

University of Maryland?
University of Maine?
University of Manitoba?
University of Montezuma?

Oh, University of Michigan!
http://www.engin.umich.edu/directory/DisplayPeople...

U of M is a little generic even for DT.




Back to the Future
By robertisaar on 4/15/2011 5:46:35 PM , Rating: 2
that's all i can think of here....

"nuclear reaction required to generate the 1.21 jigawatts"

"wait, what did i say"

".... 1.21 jigawatts"

"AAHHHHHH, ONE POINT TWENTY ONE JIGAWATTS!"




Am I the only person
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/16/2011 3:36:33 AM , Rating: 2
who thinks that if the entire planet started to "focus" the Sun, it could be a bad thing for the atmosphere? Afterall, the atmosphere is already affected enough by the Sun. Do we really want to add to that?




Two for the price of one
By Robin Nixon on 4/17/2011 1:47:43 AM , Rating: 2
And I assume you can also use the light afterwards, converting it to energy using standard solar cells.




Turning blue
By TechIsGr8 on 4/18/2011 12:03:04 PM , Rating: 2
holding my breath waiting for one of these breakthroughs to actually make it to the market...




Solar energy is pure fun
By Zingam on 4/18/2011 12:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
The funny thing about solar generated electricity is that when you need it most it's not there: during the night and during cold, dark winter days!

Harvesting solar energy is a waste of time. What humanity needs are portable sources of energy something that only exists i science fiction for now. Well these "portable" energy sources could be big enough to power a factory but something like that should be researched.
Portable energy sources we need for cars, watches, cell phones, planes, ships, space ships, notebooks...

:D




solar
By texbrazos on 4/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: solar
By bobsmith1492 on 4/15/2011 12:50:12 PM , Rating: 5
How much do the panels cost? How much do you have to pay for batteries for backup and inverters? How often do you have to replace the batteries? How long to the panels last?

Where do you live that you receive so much sunlight? I can tell you for sure that here in Michigan we only get about 64 days of full sun every year. We've had whole months where the sun never showed itself. Then, of course, in the winter the sun is only out for about 8 hours in a day and is low on the horizon. How much do you need to pay for extra batteries and panels to survive a Michigan winter?

Bottom line: personal solar electricity is great in parts of the world (the West and Southwest, mostly, in the US), if you have the money and knowhow to perform maintenance and repairs. But, that's a very small portion of people.


RE: solar
By solarpv on 4/15/11, Rating: -1
RE: solar
By Bubbacub on 4/15/2011 5:08:09 PM , Rating: 5
germany's solar power usage is completely unecconomic and entirely subsidy dependent.

spain - basically the sunniest developed country around can't make solar power wok without massive state subsidy.

solar power is an expensive joke at the moment. get the costs way down and the lifespan of the components way up and it might break even vs coal.


RE: solar
By solarpv on 4/15/2011 7:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
If you think coal is not subsidized then you are mistaken. Look into the indirect subsidies. Fossil fuels are heavily subsidized, only the subsidies are more hidden. Do some research into the TRUE costs of the various energies and I think you will be surprised.


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/15/2011 8:00:26 PM , Rating: 3
Fossil fuels are also taxed to hell and back. So it's pretty much a wash.


RE: solar
By joe4324 on 4/16/2011 12:11:38 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, but a few people on this board seem to want to complain endless about renewable subsidies, yet do not acknowledge that maybe some people have been paying with their tax dollars for fossil fuel development for many many more years. This somehow is okay if they oppose subsidy on principal alone?


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 7:33:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but apparently without those subsidies the price of gas, power generation, and other products would be outrageous. Even nuclear power, without the subsidies it would NOT be possible or viable. And like I mentioned, fossil fuels gross so much profit that the tax revenue MORE than pays back the subsidies.

Now renewable energy? They simply eat up subsidies and never pay back their share. Because there's just no way to make a profit with something like solar or wind. It's a losing proposition from the start.


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 7:40:39 AM , Rating: 2
To clarify, the fault is really Government. It's absurd if you think about it. They have created a system where the cost of doing business is so outrageous, they have to give billions of tax payer money as subsidies to encourage business to do what it would do naturally if the Gov would just get out of the way in the first place.

Our energy policy is a freaking mess. I think we can all agree on that.


RE: solar
By joe4324 on 4/16/2011 12:09:12 AM , Rating: 2
I bet I get less sun than you and I do it...


RE: solar
By Schrag4 on 4/15/2011 12:57:55 PM , Rating: 3
Nobody's saying solar doesn't work well. It's just extremely expensive. To live off the grid you not only need expensive solar cells, but you need batteries (or some other way to store energy). Well, as an alternative you could party like it's 1799.


RE: solar
By joe4324 on 4/16/2011 12:07:56 AM , Rating: 2
Screw off grid, leave that to me. Its not feasible or necessary for most people. I bet even without a single change in your consumption you could grid-tie your car's value worth of solar panels turn-key and have a huge dent in your electricity demand.

Unless of course like me, you drive a 'real' clunker ;)


RE: solar
By SPOOFE on 4/16/2011 5:01:48 PM , Rating: 2
I know a buddy that lives off-grid; he's got a lot of engineering and chemical background, and his setup is pretty impressive... also, "intimidating" to the layperson. It is a lot of investment to move off-grid, either in terms of acquiring your source(s) of energy, or in lifestyle adjustments (the amount of water my buddy uses is staggeringly small).


RE: solar
By SPOOFE on 4/15/2011 2:15:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
It is pretty frustrating to hear people say solar does not work well. It is a fact that there are many people who live totally off the grid with solar.

Solar is cool for a few people. To suggest using it as our primary source of electricity for society at large, however, is absolutely ridiculous.

Solar will always be a supplemental technology.


RE: solar
By joe4324 on 4/16/2011 12:02:34 AM , Rating: 1
I live off grid on solar, The sun provides 90%+ of what I need and 10 panels is my target for a 'final' system actually. This is in cloudy NY...

Funny how most people think $25,000 for a new car is a justifiable and necessary expense. I've got almost half of that into my whole renewable energy system.

I don't always have power to burn, but I have a gaming desktop computer, leave plenty of lights on when I'm awake etc etc. I only have 1 LED light and they draw 1/3 the power of the CFL's I have. And generally live pretty well.

We live in strange times indeed, even in the wake of fukishima people would rather spit at each other about the merits of putting a nuke every 500sq miles instead of going an extra few weeks with the air conditioner, turning down the water heater, putting a power strip on the entertainment center or turning off the torrent box at night. Strange times indeed...

I don't think a off grid solar system on every house is the answer. But to assume we need to constantly increase our consumption endlessly seems awfully un-inventive and adventuresome.


RE: solar
By ShaolinSoccer on 4/16/2011 4:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
Turning down the water heater could be a bad idea:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legionellosis


RE: solar
By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 7:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
By "turning down" the water heater most people mean down to 130f or so from 140-150f this means a 5-10% savings
according to your link a temperature of 125f would stop these critters from breeding I'm glad I saw this as I hadn't been familiar with the disease


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 7:55:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think it makes far more sense to simply turn the breakers to the water heater off. Assuming it's electric. Even a turned down water heater will kick on 5 to 8 times a day to maintain the temperature. And those elements suck the juice! And most people aren't even home when this is happening.


RE: solar
By IsaacTucson on 4/16/2011 8:43:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think the cut off is 72 hours if you cut power for any shorter time it would use more power to come back up to temp than would be used to hold it at temp even at a week (when your heater would hit room temperature) I think the savings are just a couple kwh but each additional day saves you the 1kwh/d your tank uses to hold temp
much better to set it at a reasonable temp, insulate, and cut use


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 9:31:25 PM , Rating: 2
Something doesn't seem right about that line of thinking. Water heaters are basically dumb devices that operate on a thermostat. When the water in the tank cools past a certain point of what the temperature is set on, the elements kick in the bring it up. It seems to me that a well insulated water heater is going to dissipate heat at about the same rate no matter what it's set on.

So I don't see how setting it lower is going to effect how many times the water heater kicks on per day to keep the water at said temperature.

Plus mine is in the crawlspace and it's a real bi#$% to get to. I prefer to just kick my breakers off when I'm away :P


RE: solar
By Reclaimer77 on 4/16/2011 9:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
Correction, unless you set it to "vacation" mode. That's a special low power mode or something.


RE: solar
By mindless1 on 4/18/2011 10:40:29 AM , Rating: 2
Temperature gradients. Remember they weren't claiming a large change, merely 5-10%.

Suppose an ambient temperature of 70F, heating the water to 150F is an 80F difference. Heating to only 140F is a 70F difference.

Because of the higher temperature you will lose energy at a rate roughly 80F/70F or 114% of the lower temperature.

There are mitigating factors like the timing or calibration of the temperature sensor that kicks the heater element on among others.


one day...
By Conner on 4/15/11, Rating: -1
“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls














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