Until now, the primary market for this type of solar cell has been
use by satellites. The addition of a low cost germanium substrate to
conventional "gallium indium phosphide on gallium arsenide" design,
inexpensive mirrors to concentrate the sunlight on the cells may
open the door for affordable mass production for use on earth. Whether
the Hughes Electronics and the DOE's collaberation actually
affordable fruit remains to be seen. We can only hope its potential is
Otherwise we may have to look to other energy sources. Such as fermenting waste parts of plants to make ethanol for fuel.
FUEL FROM FERMENTING PLANTS AND PLANT WASTES
Biomass to make ethanol - does it use more energy than it creates?
July 29, 1999 - The 'vision' of Americas Department Of Energy is "Growing Energy to Power America" - helping develop and grow a domestic biomass industry to produce not just power, but fuels and chemicals from crop residues, trees and biological waste.
A stated goal is to make a "ton of biomass"produce the equivalent value of a barrel of imported oil. A bill has been introduced to set aside $300 million over six years for bioenergy research and development. The benefits the bills proponents are touting are-
Nov. 10, 1999 - The USA Department Of Energys (DOE) 'National
Energy Laboratory' (NREL) has signed an agreement with a
Business - which plans to ferment waste rice straw to produce ethanol -
to license the use of the NREL's patented strains of bacteria. These
engineered organisms (Zymomonas mobilis) ferment not just the 6
carbon sugar glucose, the norm for most 'biocatalysts' as these
organisms are known, but also simultaneously ferment 5 carbon sugars.
added capability expands the amount of biomass that the organism can
down to ethanol -by 'up to' 40% more, in fact. The pilot production
will be based in Sacremento, California.
When the oil is very expensive, and finally effectively runs out, its most likely back to steam for most of us. But steam in the age of technology. Steam bicycles will be back folks, but high-tech steam bikes!
Steam is back - but clean this time
11 November 1999- "Australian scientists have perfected a new-age combustion technology, which is poised to clean up greenhouse gas emissions, slash energy costs and significantly boost productivity." says the media release.
What have the aussies done? Invented a way of 'pulsing' flames with sound waves to burn fuel highly efficiently, creating high temperatures, but with low fuel consumption. And best of all, the noxious gas emission levels are far below the strictest environmental standards. According to the researchers, "zero levels of total hydrocarbon (THC) and carbon monoxide (CO) are attainable."
The specially configured burning chamber helps the fuel 'burn twice', the sound waves create their own aspiration of air, so fans aren't required, and the vibration helps the combustion chamber to be self cleaning.
The current thinking is that it is ideal for industrial boilers and steel foundries. But it wouldn't take much to harness the concept to new generation steam locomotives, or, once miniaturised, the old steam bicycle....
One way to save money is not to spend it.
One way to save energy is not to spend it unwisely. This is perhaps
a little oblique to the issue, but the present farmland 'bean and
based agriculture uses more oil calories than the calory value of
the food it produces!
Grassland farming, on the other hand, produces an energy 'surplus' over each calory of oil burned in production.
The USDA estimates: