Sunday, February 17, 2008

Solar Energy Innovation

As energy cost rise, the need for significant solar energy-producing facilities becomes evident. The sun that reaches the Earth's surface daily delivers 10,000 times more energy than we consume.

There are discoveries in the Nano Technology space (2005) related to absorbing more energy from the sun; scientists have invented a plastic solar cell that can turn the sun's power into electrical energy, even on a cloudy day. Those "spray-on" cells have the potential to be five times more efficient than current solar technology.

Another interesting solar generator uses a Stirling engine (powered by heat), invented in 1816!! A startup company is now developing those generators so that they can be manufactured by the suffering car industry manufacturing facilities.

Flying over the US and looking down, it is simple to see that there are locations where you can cover enormous areas with mirrors or photo-voltaic surfaces that can be exposed to sunlight for large portions of the year. Obviously, transferring energy is another place where efficiency can be improved. Still, we have been transferring fuel over unimaginable terrains and distances for years, which indicates that this is a surmountable problem.

I envision "solar farms" consisting of plastic material rolled across deserts generating enough clean energy to supply the entire US and the planet's power needs. We need to make this happen regardless of any political affiliation. It is a question of quality of life, and independence above everything else.

Insufficient planning and deeds in this area are probably the biggest mistakes the US economic leaders made over the past 50 years. It is still possible to do the right thing if we accelerate the efforts now.

See where innovation can take us if we put our minds to it. A solar powered Rickshaw demonstrating the use of clean solar energy while relying on nature’s designs. With that invention, it seems like we will not need wheels.