Solar Energy: What is the Problem and What is the Solution

 

how to solve energy problems

The culminating energy project is introduced and the technical problem solving process is applied to get students started on the project. By the end of the class, students should have a good perspective on what they have already learned and what they still need to learn to complete the project. Jun 23,  · When it comes to our energy needs, there are three main problems. We have confused needs and desires, cheap energy and not educated ourselves enough on understanding energy. Let me explain. Need is a word that gets used out of context all the time, it Author: Mike Haydon. The global energy problem is the problem of providing humanity with fuel now and in the foreseeable future. Here are the ways to solve this problem with an unexpectedly different approach.


Solving the Energy Problem


Global warming is now almost universally accepted as a serious problem caused by human activity — mainly burning fossil fuels — that demands strong remedial action as soon as possible.

This note is intended as a contribution to the effort to devise a comprehensive solution to all aspects of the energy problem. Many others have also recognized various aspects of the problem and the need for a rapid response. I have found that most workers in this field have not completely defined the problem, but nevertheless have some favorite solutions to be exclusively pursued.

When I began my engineering education long ago, I was lucky enough to have had the tutelage of experienced engineers, not scientists.

They all said preached, actually that the indispensable first step in devising a solution in the real world was to define the problem. This is how to solve energy problems recognized by nearly everyone as caused by greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide, how to solve energy problems, produced by burning fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas.

While nuclear power plants are being advocated by some, dealing with spent nuclear fuel is as problematic as greenhouse gases, and energy must be used to produce nuclear fuel. Note there is now a worldwide shortage of nuclear fuel. Others are pushing ethanol, which is such a bad idea that it is hard to understand how its use has become as widespread as it has. Solar power, wind power, hydroelectric power, nuclear power, hydrogen power, methane from buried organic material, and how to solve energy problems renewable power sources are advocated by some, but so far, no solution has been proposed that would be both affordable and complete.

The purpose of this paper is to propose such a complete solution, the development of which requires only resources that we already have in abundance. Unless, by some miracle, we find a substitute for petroleum fuel that can be used with the same technology we use today, takes no energy to produce, has no noxious residue, and has no unexpected consequences like raising the price of corn its adoption will require rebuilding our entire energy infrastructure.

This will be neither easy nor cheap, but if we hope to preserve the Earth for our descendents, we have no choice but to act now. This will involve diverting manpower and funds from current uses. If we examine how these resources are now being used, military applications will be found high on the list. Many of us believe that such diversions would make our world a better place in which to live.

The decisions, of course, will be political, which is beyond the scope of this short paper. Though expensive to build, the proposed system, which abandons fossil fuels, should be cheap to operate, how to solve energy problems, as the fuel, which is sunlight, has no operating cost.

All the energy the earth has stored and almost all of the energy it receives every day comes from the Sun.

Their use produces most of the global warming that has become so obvious. If we were to get most of our useable energy from the Sun, we would solve many of the most important problems, including the price and availability of petroleum as well as 3 the noxious by-products associated with using nuclear power and fossil fuels.

Perhaps we how to solve energy problems discover that if we stop adding these gases to the atmosphere, the existing unwanted gases will slowly dissipate. A way to do this is to move to an electrical economy, producing electricity from sunlight, and then replacing as much of other fuels as possible by electricity. There is cost associated with this, but mostly new technology is not required.

The one field in which this is not yet completely possible is transportation, where better batteries or how to solve energy problems functional equivalent are needed. Fortunately, we still have a lot of competence in developing new technology, in spite of losing a good part of our manufacturing skills. A very promising battery project is underway at MIT. Solar power at present is faulted for being available only during clear days, for requiring expensive solar cells of limited efficiency and life, and for not having enough space for the receptors in crowded areas such as cities.

This proposal concentrates on dealing with these issues. Small collectors concentrated sunlight sufficiently to produce steam of high enough temperature and pressure to operate water pumps. The motivation was that pilferage of electrical components, even copper wire, was then a problem in the outlying areas where the apparatus was often located. This idea is one of the elements in the proposal. The other [idea] is to collect the sunlight on large steerable, focusable mirrors in geostationary orbit that would direct the reflected light onto much smaller receptors on the ground, how to solve energy problems.

The orbits would be inclined so that the mirrors would never be in the shadow of the earth, how to solve energy problems. Initially, the receptors would be located near existing hydroelectric plants, where solar-powered pumps would be used to move water up into the lake s behind the dam s for energy storage.

At NASA, we have the skills to develop such devices as the mirrors and perhaps even have the money if we give up such projects as the space station, which produce no noticeable benefits for mankind. Should the initial installations prove workable, new plants could be built in more remote locations. Solar power like the kind I saw in India is still used to some extent in the U. Heating of swimming pools seems to be the largest application.

Some is used for domestic hot water and some for space heating. Numerous small companies are in the business of making and selling the collectors and the receptors for the various applications. The same is true today in India. The orbiting mirrors would be, perhaps, a mile in diameter. They would be constructed as transparent inflatable thin balloons, how to solve energy problems, one of the inside surfaces of which would be aluminized to provide the reflecting surface for the required concave mirror.

The mirrors would be lifted into orbit while folded, the inflated shape being determined by the thickness of the plastic or other material and by the pressure. It is likely that spherical reflectors would be adequate, and the focal length could be adjusted by the pressure, thus avoiding high precision in their manufacture. Communication satellites already use slanted orbits and incorporate sufficiently accurate steering mechanisms. Note that since the Sun apparently moves through the sky while the mirror apparently remains fixed to viewers on the Earth, the angle of incidence of the sunlight on the mirror changes.

Thus the mirror must be constantly how to solve energy problems. This is preferably done by using feedback from small sensors located around the edge of the mirror to the steering mechanism of the satellite carrying the mirror. These same sensors can also be used to adjust the focal length of the concave reflector by adjusting the air pressure inside the plastic balloon so that the incident beam just fills the receptor surface.

A reflector about feet in diameter thus collects about megawatts, which is comparable to the capacity of a typical terrestrial electric power plant.

I am guessing that collectors might be feet in diameter, but this must be verified. The fraction of the collected power that would be received by the collectors depends on the weather, how to solve energy problems, and the fraction of that which becomes useful heat to make steam and drive pumps remains to be seen. Close to populated areas, it may be necessary to stop the transmission at night. For these reasons, storage of the collected energy is essential, which makes the use of dams holding pumped water a vital part of these systems.

The ability to defocus the mirrors is also important. One of the reasons for using the solar energy directly to produce steam and drive pumps is that solar electric cells, besides being expensive, are not very efficient in converting light into electricity, and need replacement from time to time. There is how to solve energy problems such limitation when converting the incoming power into steam, but there probably are some limitations from safety considerations.

However the efficiency is surely higher than that of solar cells. It has been known for some time that thousands of pieces of debris, some very large but most very small, how to solve energy problems, abandoned from previous launches, are in orbit around the Earth. Some objects that have been returned, such as shuttle vehicles, have been found to have suffered minor damage from impact with small pieces.

This raises concern for us, how to solve energy problems, since the mirrors we propose to place in orbit are actually quite fragile. There are two possible approaches to deal with this problem. One is to make the mirrors less fragile by abandoning the balloon approach and providing a structure to support a single-surface properly shaped mirror. The other is to provide redundancy by placing two or more mirrors in orbit for each receiving location on the ground. The balloon approach is very attractive because it enables focus to be controlled by pressure, rather than making and then placing in orbit a very precise mirror.

Although the redundancy approach seems better to me, how to solve energy problems, my inclination is to leave the final decisions to the engineers who will do the actual design, hopefully from NASA, how to solve energy problems.

This proposal need not be the only scheme used. Higher efficiency in systems that do burn carbon-containing fuels would how to solve energy problems, but not eliminate contamination of the atmosphere.

Conservation, wind power, tidal power, and any other schemes that do not burn fossil how to solve energy problems carbon-containing fuels may also be used. I have no special knowledge about hydrogen fuel cells, except to note that water vapor is also how to solve energy problems greenhouse gas.

Carbon sequestration seems to involve significant new technology and does not free us from the grip of OPEC. This piece also has a very good list of additional references. It is well written and apparently accurate. In this paper, I have used these two terms only in their technical sense. Power typical unit is watt is the rate of providing energy typical units are BTU — British thermal units — or joules.

James L. From the Senior Survey. Women Faculty as of October Percent of Faculty Who are Women as of October Bish Sanyal New Faculty Chair. Editorial Your Newsletter.

Solving the Energy Problem. Numbers From the Senior Survey. Numbers Women Faculty as of October Solving the Energy Problem William Schreiber Global warming is now almost universally accepted as a serious problem caused by human activity — mainly burning fossil fuels — that demands strong remedial action as soon as possible.

What is the energy problem? It has several parts.

 

New Ways to Solve the Energy Problem | sppanischx.ga

 

how to solve energy problems

 

The culminating energy project is introduced and the technical problem solving process is applied to get students started on the project. By the end of the class, students should have a good perspective on what they have already learned and what they still need to learn to complete the project. Jun 23,  · When it comes to our energy needs, there are three main problems. We have confused needs and desires, cheap energy and not educated ourselves enough on understanding energy. Let me explain. Need is a word that gets used out of context all the time, it Author: Mike Haydon. The global energy problem is the problem of providing humanity with fuel now and in the foreseeable future. Here are the ways to solve this problem with an unexpectedly different approach.