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The Forum > Article Comments > A potential breakthrough in harnessing the Sunís energy > Comments

A potential breakthrough in harnessing the Sunís energy : Comments

By David Biello, published 13/5/2009

New solar thermal technology overcomes a major challenge - how to store the sunís heat for use at night or on a rainy day.

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The problem is the rainy week not the rainy day. In that case you probably have to have all these gas fired generators on standby chewing up financing costs even if they are not burning fuel. Another problem is the disproportionate drop in the strength of the winter sun as you move further from the equator. Some say there is an even better way to meet solar energy's best role of meeting summer peak demand and that is by building homes and offices so they don't need air conditioning. Many people think we already have enough transmission lines in the outback without adding any more.

Therefore I wonder if the second surge in solar thermal will fizzle like the first episode. I think it has a niche role not a dominant one and some other form of low carbon but ultra reliable energy is needed.
Posted by Taswegian, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 9:51:17 AM
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*We used to burn coal and natural gas - now we can use the sun to make steam*

What about using the sun to directly drive air conditioners? It
still annoys me that when its 40deg plus outside, nobody has come
up with a solution for this one and its air conditioners that use
alot of peak load power on hot days.
Posted by Yabby, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 10:29:03 AM
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Costs were studiously avoided in thes artical.

Why do I get the feeling that we are going to pay more than half the cost of building these monstrosities, then pay twice as much for our power?

I get so sick of all these pies too high in the sky for me to reach.
Posted by Hasbeen, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 10:37:41 AM
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quote from article<<The sun bathes the Earth with an average of 6 kilowatt-hours of power per square metre over the course of a day>>

ok so at a guess..the billions of squaremeters that comprise the earth..produce more energy in one day...[THAN ALL THE FOSSIL FUELS USED IN A YEAR]

cant we see the con about..manmade global warming..is simply revealed by the simple facts..used to justify building a 'renewable'economy based on a tax ...based on the lie of carbon e-mission's being a polutant?

see the sun reveals it is doing the warming

see that if a few solar energy collectors can replace all mans energy polutions...[the petro/coal-polutions are essentially of NULL AFFECT[excess heat energy simply escapes into space]...just like it allways has

remember when we had global cooling [only a few decades ago;..when we had clouds of polution keeping the heat out...we were getting global COOLING

ever since the clean air act..[MORE heat gets in because the clouds arnt REFLECTing it away]...why can we realise we are being conned

EVERYDAY..the sun puts in more energy..than a year of coal/petro based energy usage..ITS ABOUT GETTING IN THE NEW BUBBLE[and the new global tax]

yes its a great idea catching the energy from the sun..[but the premise that heralds its excuse is faulse]..

they seek to give us a new tax..so industry can create ever more polutions..[and they can charge us double for energy..on top of the tax]...wake up people

this was planned for for generations..[the new tax on carbon]
but its still based on a lie
Posted by one under god, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 11:06:42 AM
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There are a number of problems with all forms of alternative energy and thermal power is no different. No matter what anyone thinks, fossil fuels will run out and we can't keep pumping coal gas into the atmosphere without adverse effects on the planet, so we have to find solutions.

I met a bloke in sth east Tasmania who has a Stirling engine generating system which is powered by a small solar furnace, he's one of those old engine fanatics and set it up as a joke. But it worked so well he uses it to power his house along with his wind generator and solar cells. I did read they were going to build a big one in West NSW, but haven't heard about it for a year or so.

The biggest problem is the elite desperately want to keep power generation in the hands of corporations, who rely upon single point generation and distribution, requiring huge amounts of infrastructure and wastage. What we need is combinations of energy generations suited for each individual location. Small towns can generate power by various methods and use the excess to power local industry cheaper and more reliable than single point origin, long distance wired systems.

Already we've seen what single point control does when much of Sydney shut down, the time will come when the entire grid collapses, then we will see real problems.
Posted by stormbay, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 11:19:09 AM
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Systems with parabolic mirror array which heats central tubes containing oil or salts or whatever are hardly new. So have the developers got it to the point where these systems may actually be of use? If so we would have to see a lot more detail in the article about output over time and how much energy was stored for use at night or on cloudy days and so on. As other commentators have noted, the article avoids any mention of costs - a sure sign that this form of energy is prohibitively expensive. As is now widely known a lot of alternative energy projects - particularly wind turbuines - are little more than expensive symbols put up to make it look as if the government is doing something. Let us not reject the idea but - rather than "oh wow" over another expensive project - call for more of the details that actually matter.
Posted by Curmudgeon, Wednesday, 13 May 2009 11:49:00 AM
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