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June 13
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shouldn't we have more effective ways of harnessing solar energy now? because

:iconplantatreeforme:
shouldn't we have more effective ways of harnessing solar energy now? because

Approximately 12000 TW (terrawatts) of energy

reaches the Earth from the Sun.

That is 1200000000000000 joules per minute

More energy reaches the earth from the sun in one day

than the whole world uses in one year.
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:iconeyeballearth:
EyeballEarth Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The real problem of solar isn't even efficiency, it's power storage. Other sources of power like coal, hydro and nuclear provide constant levels of power regardless of daytime. Solar is not capable of that, the power output varies throughout the day with dropping entirely at night.

What is needed to get solar competitive is a revolution in power storage.
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:iconmikomics:
Mikomics Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
The technology just isn't there yet. Solar panels are still far too expensive to make and too inefficient to be a truly viable source of energy yet. There's a lot of optimization and innovation needed first. Why it hasn't happened yet? No idea. Might be that it's just a really difficult area to innovate in - I haven't done much with solar cells yet but the little I've touched on at college makes it clear that it's a tough field. But I mean I'm just a college student who isn't even majoring specifically in the field of renewable energy so the fuck do I know? The other possibility is that there hasn't been enough funding, but I don't know much about that.
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:icondoc-skitz:
Doc-Skitz Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The global warming crowd doesn't want new sources of energy to be developed. A method for scrubbing the atmosphere of CO2 is being developed:


The global warming crowd would lose the power they crave over our lives if this would be allowed to come to fruition!
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
The real question is what to do with the CO2 once you have removed it from the atmosphere.
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:icondoc-skitz:
Doc-Skitz Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The plan is to turn some of it into fuel and bury the rest, whatever the geniuses at MIT come up with. But it's on such a small scale now and will takes years to develop fully. What's heartening about the whole thing is that there are innovators working on methods to clean up the atmosphere!
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
How do you bury a gas?
And why does turning it into fuel not use more energy than what you get back?
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:iconsleinadflar:
SleinadFlar Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
How do you bury a gas?
Basically in used up oil and gas fields. Or you make CO2 react with minerals (oxides + CO2 > carbonates). Among others.

And why does turning it into fuel not use more energy than what you get back?
It does, but the thought behind it is that you use renewable sources (solar, wind, geothermal, hydro etc.) to make those fuels. Using fossil fuels to generate electricity to again make the same fuels out of CO2 would be very inefficient, to say the least.
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
Both solutions sound like they demand a lot of energy and we are far from having a surplus.
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:iconsleinadflar:
SleinadFlar Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
CCS and CCU aren't very efficient yet, no.
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:icondoc-skitz:
Doc-Skitz Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
ask the geniuses at MIT!
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
You do not actually know?
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:icondoc-skitz:
Doc-Skitz Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
no, do you?
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 20, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
No, that is why I do not advertise it.
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(1 Reply)
:iconfeekle:
feekle Featured By Owner Jun 14, 2018
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:iconvonribbeck:
vonRibbeck Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist
One or two cents about this:

First, it's a question about efficiency. We can never convert hundert percent of any type of energy into usable energy. The second law of thermodynamics (I think, maybe the first one though, thermodynamics never was my strong point) forbids this.

Secondly it's a question about reliability. If our energy source is dependent on weather (which it is for now) we cannot solely rely on it. Of course, if we, say, would have solar panels or something just about everywhere on the planet, we could harvest solar light all the time, somewhere is always day and somewhere it will most likely always be sunny. The next questions in this hypothetical scenario would be about energy storage and transport. And here we will enter the question of efficiency again. We could build huge solar parks in African deserts, if we wouldn't have the sand problem, and try to get all that excess energy to Europe where it's needed. But the how to get it there is a huge problem. And ways to efficiently and effectively store energy are more or less limited too.

Thirdly it's about resources. Now I have no idea whatsoever what materials we need in solar panels and with what processes and kind of waste they're produced and how much energy that takes, but this definitely needs to be considered. It's like with e-mobility. The environment does not really win if the production of an e-car produces more waste and stuff than a petrol car produces in its ten years of usage. Hypothetically, I have no idea how this relation stands in reality.

Fourthly we have to consider also where the energy usually goes. If we would convert all the solar energy into electric energy and from that into artificical light and heat, what happens with the processes that are usually fuelled by the solar light? Here again, have I no idea about what's what, so I can't answer the question, but it does need to be considered. Just like with wind energy we need to consider what's happening with the weather if we take considerable energy out of the wind. Same goes with tidal and geothermal energy. I understand that a lot of sun light simply gets reflected on the atmosphere anyway, and if we could us that part somehow, then this would be no problem at all, but here we again get the transport problem if we ignore the cost and effort problems of how to get solar panels up there.
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:iconkitsumekat:
kitsumekat Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2018
Because it doesn't make money.
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
We are already trying but solar technology still isn't very efficient. Over time it will become cheaper and more efficient but right now would still require large areas of land to be viable. It's much better for micro generation by putting it on people's houses and reducing their energy bills as well as taking power away from the big energy companies.
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:iconschwarzer--ritter:
Schwarzer--Ritter Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Student Traditional Artist
Technically, burning coal and oil is harnessing solar energy.
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:iconmobiusoneblaze:
mobiusoneblaze Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Part of it is due to lack of investment. Until Oil becomes too expensive to use, we're going to be stuck with fossil fuels
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:icon61021376:
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
Not to mention, solar energy produces more toxic waste than nuclear energy
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:iconkaikaku:
kaikaku Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah, but that's because nuclear energy produces an extremely small volume of toxic, radioactive waste. 

Of course volume of waste isn't the only measurement nor the only consideration as far as these things go. 
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:icon61021376:
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
Ergo, it's more efficient and cleaner than solar.
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:iconkaikaku:
kaikaku Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Eh, you're comparing waste products that don't make that much sense to compare and you're acting like the volume is all that matters. Most of the components in e-waste aren't actually toxic. A lot of the volume they're made up of is glass and aluminum or steel, but the whole panel is considered hazardous waste anyway. Moreover, even the toxic components in solar panels could often be recycled, it's just being done poorly right now. Raising awareness of this is good, it gives people a chance to address the problem. And the problem needs to be addressed eventually, anyway, because we're all using tons of electronics and those all are producing electronic waste. 

Nuclear waste is smaller volume, but much much more toxic. Nice thing about that, I suppose, is people are scared enough about it to not want to blithely toss it into the environment.
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:iconeidolon1:
Eidolon1 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
How's that?  I'd love to hear from you the part of the process of using solar energy that creates more toxic waste than nuclear energy.
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:icon61021376:
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
www.nationalreview.com/2017/06…
Imagine how many discarded solar panels we would get if we had to rely on solar rather than nuclear
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:iconpiggies-go-moo:
piggies-go-moo Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
So why precisely aren't those panels being recycled?
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:iconkaikaku:
kaikaku Featured By Owner Edited Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
A lot of it is. There could be better systems in place for this, though. A lot of the toxic materials in solar panels (as in computers and other forms of similar waste) are reclaimable, it's just expensive to reclaim it and we're still taking shortcuts as far as recycling goes. In the long run, this will definitely have to be remedied and it's worth talking about that.

All that said, treating 1 pound of spent nuclear waste as better than 300 pounds of busted solar panel is stupid in the first place. And I'm not against nuclear energy. Just, really folks?
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:icon61021376:
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
Why are you asking me this? I don't know.
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:iconeidolon1:
Eidolon1 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
So if I am to understand this correctly, it is the discarded solar panels that would cause all of the pollution.  And that brings up a further question, why would someone want to discard their solar panels?  The nuclear industry creates all sorts of radioactive waste that has to be disposed of in areas that will be contaminated for several hundred thousand years to come.  Not even normal garbage has that problem.
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:icon61021376:
61021376 Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
Because like everything else, solar panels are not permanent things, I guess
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:iconnovuso:
Novuso Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
I am just going by memory without looking it up by approximately 1 square meter of direct sunlight will produce 1 kilowatt /hr of electricity per hour. However, the best solar panels are only about 20% to 25% efficient in converting that energy to usable electricity. My semi off grid home is fully solar powered with 16 square meters of panels and it produces about 2kw/hr at peak sunlight.
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:iconopalmist:
OpalMist Featured By Owner Jun 13, 2018
Why do you hate coal industry workers? They're just trying to provide for their families.

It's a shameful waste of energy, I agree. We could be doing so much better.



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