Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The technology that will save humanity

"Clearly, the world needs a massive amount of carbon-free electricity by 2050 to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions." This is the key of a salon.com article discussing a specific form of energy technology that could very well make a huge difference to our world. Basically, to solve for global warming requires getting to an energy which doesn't have, as a side effect, to cause global warming.

There are many alternative energy technologies which could do this to some extent but might not work so well. For example wind power only produces electricity when the wind is blowing..

This salon.com article offers one energy source which could provide lots of power.. The Sun shines essentially limitless energy upon this planet. It's inexpensive, it's easy to capture, but the question would be how to store the energy and convert it into some useful form of energy like electricity.

"Solar electric thermal, also known as concentrated solar power (CSP), meets all these criteria." There's a long history to to concentrating solar power, such as mirrors used by ancient Chinese to ignite wood.

"The key attribute of CSP is that it generates primary energy in the form of heat, which can be stored 20 to 100 times more cheaply than electricity -- and with far greater efficiency. Commercial projects have already demonstrated that CSP systems can store energy by heating oil or molten salt, which can retain the heat for hours. Ausra and other companies are working on storing the heat directly with water in the tubes, which would significantly lower cost and avoid the need for heat exchangers."

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