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MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

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  • MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

    I debated on if I should post this here or in the General forum, but I think people here would be more interest in the tech side of it.

    2 articles just posted, but I am sure there will be more:

    MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

    New Way Of Storing Solar Energy Discovered

    Now as interesting as this sounds, I am really hoping they can use the Hydrogen they split off to be put into a hydrogen powered car, like the ones that BMW and Honda are letting people test out in Cali. right now. Honda for instance already has a small machince that runs off your house's electric to collect and store H so it can be filled into the H powered car, so it is like you have a gas station at your house. With this, seems like it could do the same, but run off renewable energy instead.

    These are exciting times.

    Now for some political commentary:

    Just think what would happen if Bush (or the next president) and the gas companies got behind tech like this. Instead of paying at the pump stations now, they could build stations that did this on a large scale. Creating H right on site, instead of getting a product from the middle east, transporting it around the world, refining it, transporting it across the country, just so you can buy it and burn it.
    But instead right now Bush is saying we should be drilling our asses off in Northern Alaska and all over the coast of our country. And I don't know if everyone caught the news yesterday but the earnings for the gas companies are being released, and one yesterday I remember had $14 BILLION in profits for this quarter.

    Just a couple of headlines posted today on cnn.com money site

    Chevron profit soars on oil, shares dip
    The San Ramon, Calif.-based company said it made $5.98 billion, or $2.90 per share, during the three months ended June 30, versus income of $5.38 billion, or $2.52 per share, a year earlier.

    Oil surges on jobs report
    Crude prices gain nearly $4 a barrel after Labor Department report shows a smaller-than-expected decline on U.S. jobs in July.

    Exxon posts record $11.68 billion profit
    Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

    That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

    That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.
    But that isn't even the best part.........wait for it.........wait for it........
    Exxon Mobil once again reported the largest quarterly profit in U.S. history Thursday, posting net income of $11.68 billion on revenue of $138 billion in the second quarter.

    That profit works out to $1,485.55 a second.

    That barely beat the previous corporate record of $11.66 billion, also set by Exxon in the fourth quarter of 2007.

    GM posts $15.5 billion loss

    The auto industry as a whole has struggled recently as high gas prices and a weak economy have kept customers at home.
    Last week, Ford Motor Co. (F, Fortune 500) reported the largest quarterly loss in its 105-year history. On Thursday, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services cut its ratings for all three domestic automakers further into junk status

    LINKS

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    Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

    -Carlos A. Urbizo-


  • #2
    Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

    Question: If you're going to have a water-heater-sized machine that's manipulating significant amounts of hydrogen (kaboom) and oxygen (kaboom) to store energy that's going from solar radiation to the photoelectric effect, lost as heat in a wire, then used to try to bust up hydrogen protoxide... when we could just make a nuclear reactor the same size using the low-grade material that isn't worth using in a big facility, and power a block or three? That's what we did with our space probes.

    I'm all for cool energy sources, but this seems like a very long and wandering path to do something we've been able to do for a long time.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

      Well, this tech won't have nuclear waste that will still be able to kill you 100,000 years from now.
      And Oil companies are saying the same (kaboom) scary stories as you mention above, yet have no problem with us sitting on equally as explosive fuel, with only a 2.5mm thickness gas tank.
      If you look at how the bmw hydrogen fuel tank is designed, you would pretty much have to run over it with a monster truck to get to it.
      The Hydrogen 7 uses a superinsulated storage tank. Its 1-inch-thick insulation is equivalent to 17 meters of Styrofoam, according to BMW. It could keep coffee hot for three months.
      I read autoblog daily, and laughed at this post the other day
      Port Authority skittish over BMW Hydrogen 7
      and then laughed even more when I read the 1st comment:
      Because a half million pounds of gasoline in stamped tin cans is is the epitome of safety.
      Also:
      Honda FCX Clarity one of Motor Trend's "Top 10 Cars of 2007"
      good comments there

      LINKS

      * *


      Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

      -Carlos A. Urbizo-

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

        What? Do you think we pull plutonium out of a hat? Nuclear waste is atoms that came of the earth, the only difference is concentration. Meanwhile, wouldn't it be better to make a large number of small, low-yield energy generators with our low-grade waste than to hollow a mountain and argue on the internet about what would be the best "RADIATION: IT'LL KILL YA!" sign to be understood by aliens in a million years?

        That solves the storage problem, the need to harvest more fuel, and the concentration issue.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

          I think we should just start sending all our nuclear waste to the moon. Tranquility Base would be perfect, me thinks.

          LINKS

          * *


          Stoop and you'll be stepped on; stand tall and you'll be shot at.

          -Carlos A. Urbizo-

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

            Originally posted by Bamboo View Post
            I think we should just start sending all our nuclear waste to the moon. Tranquility Base would be perfect, me thinks.
            I always thought this was a fun site.

            Not to hijack the thread. I've been following this story too.. interesting proof of concept - who knows what it's final form will be - if any.
            sigpic


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            • #7
              Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

              Originally posted by MagnaCentipede View Post
              What? Do you think we pull plutonium out of a hat? Nuclear waste is atoms that came of the earth, the only difference is concentration. Meanwhile, wouldn't it be better to make a large number of small, low-yield energy generators with our low-grade waste than to hollow a mountain and argue on the internet about what would be the best "RADIATION: IT'LL KILL YA!" sign to be understood by aliens in a million years?

              That solves the storage problem, the need to harvest more fuel, and the concentration issue.
              Yes, we pretty much do pull plutonium out of a hat--a hat made from U-238. Pu-239 isn't found in nature. Virtually every element with atomic number greater than 92 is man-made. Uranium has an atomic number 92 and plutonium 94. Pu-239 made by bombarding U-238--the stuff we use to fuel nuclear reactors, not the stuff we use to fuel nuclear bombs--with neutrons. It has a half-life of roughly 24,000 years. But that said, Pu-239 is not the main radiological hazard in spent nuclear fuel. The kind of radiation it puts out can't penetrate much skin--it's an alpha decayer. And, it doesn't put out that much radiation. It is dangerous if it gets inside us somehow--say by contaminating our water supply--or if enough of it comes together to spontaneously fission.

              There are, however, other much more dangerous radioactive elements produced in the same process. And, these are not low-grade or low-yield. Sr-90 and Cs137 are extremely hazardous to humans.

              Nuclear waste may be from atoms that come from Earth, but what's important is the structure of the molecules made up of those atoms--not where they came from. Of course, all these molecules are made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons, to take a slightly outdated but familiar model, but some of these arrangements are more or less stable than others. It's not about concentration at all, since nuclear fission produces new elements from the old ones.

              Hm. Didn't you guys learn this stuff in physics?

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                That's too expensive. The cost-per-mass suggests we should save what remains of our best fuel for extraplanetary activities (at least until we begin pulling material out of other planets; Mars might not have the big elements, though, and Venus is prohibitively toasty, but if we can push the atmosphere off of it we're in business) and use the lower-quality material at home.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                  i cant beleive it took MIT to figure out now, what i had the idea for a year ago... solar powered hydrogen/oxygen separator for use with fuel cell vehicles, god i need to patent my ideas
                  powered by Windows 7

                  . . . .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                    You cannot patent an idea; only a device. Well, unless you're a really big company in which case you can patent anything you like and tie it up in court at will.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                      Originally posted by MagnaCentipede View Post
                      Question: If you're going to have a water-heater-sized machine that's manipulating significant amounts of hydrogen (kaboom) and oxygen (kaboom) to store energy that's going from solar radiation to the photoelectric effect, lost as heat in a wire, then used to try to bust up hydrogen protoxide... when we could just make a nuclear reactor the same size using the low-grade material that isn't worth using in a big facility, and power a block or three? That's what we did with our space probes.
                      Space probes use atomic batteries not reactors. These are useful when you need to to power something that requires little power for a very long time without resupply.

                      Essentially an atomic battery is a device which transforms radiation from a radioactive material into electricity. There is no fission going on in such a device; and the output is very low (perhaps a couple hundred watts for a sizable amount of material--not enough to power a block let alone a typical home) due to low efficiency.

                      A fission reactor just won't work with material below a certain grade because it cannot sustain the nuclear chain reaction necessary for fission.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                        The same design shouldn't, but that may not be necessary. The solar cell idea is "lets use photons from the sun," the question to solve as I see it (which may be wrong of course, I only began to consider this issue a few hours ago) is how can we get radiation from our waste products as a little drop of sunlight. Gamma emission is certianly a photon, but it would want to zip through the solar cell; beta is free electrons but we would need many to become appreciable current. Alpha would be useful only to catch beta and then go into a balloon or make us talk funny.

                        I wonder how we can wrangle a gamma particle. I suppose once the Large Hadron Collider starts crapping out black holes, we could use those to capture gamma and leak the energy back in slower forms that we can manipulate more easily.

                        Then again, once we have our balloon of Alpha and Beta, we could fuse them and make our balloon into a more-accurate drop of sunlight.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                          Originally posted by MagnaCentipede View Post
                          The same design shouldn't, but that may not be necessary. The solar cell idea is "lets use photons from the sun," the question to solve as I see it (which may be wrong of course, I only began to consider this issue a few hours ago) is how can we get radiation from our waste products as a little drop of sunlight. Gamma emission is certianly a photon, but it would want to zip through the solar cell; beta is free electrons but we would need many to become appreciable current. Alpha would be useful only to catch beta and then go into a balloon or make us talk funny.

                          I wonder how we can wrangle a gamma particle. I suppose once the Large Hadron Collider starts crapping out black holes, we could use those to capture gamma and leak the energy back in slower forms that we can manipulate more easily.

                          Then again, once we have our balloon of Alpha and Beta, we could fuse them and make our balloon into a more-accurate drop of sunlight.
                          I'm unsure how you're thinking of Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation (an alpha particle is not a molecule of helium, although they have identical nucleuses), but yes, the idea of solar power is to get energy from the radiation that the sun emits. And, that is the basic idea behind atomic batteries: transform the radiation into an electrical current. The majority of atomic batteries use alpha emitter materials with very low gamma emissions, since it's much safer and requires less shielding. Nuclear wastes are very harmful to us, which is why they are unsuitable for general use as power devices. It's okay to put such materials in unmanned satellites or probes, but it would be very dangerous to use one to power the PC that sits next to your desk.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                            How is this news? People have been producing hydrogen from splitting water for decades and I'm sure someone has thought of using electricity from the sun to do it.. I don't understand the point in producing hydrogen and storing it under pressure when it can just be produced on demand from electrolysis of water. But this is hardly an "unprecedented approach". People are already using HHO in their cars to increase fuel efficiency. Some people have managed to run their cars purely on water.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: MIT develops solar storage "nirvana": energy crisis solved?

                              Originally posted by mentholated View Post
                              How is this news? People have been producing hydrogen from splitting water for decades and I'm sure someone has thought of using electricity from the sun to do it.. I don't understand the point in producing hydrogen and storing it under pressure when it can just be produced on demand from electrolysis of water. But this is hardly an "unprecedented approach". People are already using HHO in their cars to increase fuel efficiency. Some people have managed to run their cars purely on water.
                              Probably because it isn't energy efficient. One uses more energy for the electrolysis than can be chemically produced by the hydrogen product. So, where do you get the energy needed for electrolysis? The sun sounds like a pretty good source.

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