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BrightSource's novel solar thermal power concept for California heats up

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posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 04:02 PM
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BrightSource's novel solar thermal power concept for California heats up


www.latimes.com

DIMONA, ISRAEL -- On the scorched floor of Israel's Negev Desert blooms a field of 1,640 robotic mirrors that behave like sunflowers.

Slightly larger than pingpong tables and guided by a computer, they turn imperceptibly to follow the sun and focus its rays on the pinnacle of a 200-foot tower, where a water boiler will soon start producing high-pressure steam.

This futuristic assembly is Arnold Goldman's scale model and testing ground for five larger solar fields his company plans to build in the Mojave Desert to supply up to 900 megawatts of clean energy to California in the next decade.
(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 04:03 PM
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Very cool (re)emerging technology. I look farward to things like this. I am a huge fan of alternative energy, and a bigger fan of seeing it instituted on a grand scale.

www.latimes.com
(visit the link for the full news article)



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 04:37 PM
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In my opinion this is only half right. Using renuewables is ofc right, but centralizing it on a grid system is wrong. What should be happening is a decentralization of the power grid so as to empower the middle class. This would have powerfull political ramifications and also help build a more resiliant economy. If people don't have to worry about producing energy they can produce whatever they want.

Still, it's much better than most other sources of energy and at least half a step forward.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 06:31 PM
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reply to post by Zepherian
 


Great point Zeph, I think what you propose is going to be an uphill battle. Self contained, small scale systems are essentially a 'democratizing technology' in that it alleviates a persons dependence on the system. Dependence that to the elite equals control and I don't see them giving up that control without a fight.




posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 06:51 PM
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reply to post by Zepherian
 


That could empower the middle class but what about the lower classes?

People without the means of producing electricity could not have it.

But at the moment, and as far as I know, nothing prevents you or me from producing our own electricity. In Portugal we can even sell the surplus to the grid, and it has been like that for at least 30 years.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 07:06 PM
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Locally, a far thinking doctor set up a small wind machine to generate electricity.

My friend and several others in his upscale neighborhood are going to have a meeting with the company that sells the equipment and it looks like at least 6 of them will have wind machines installed.

They're not very big, run quiet and the tower is about 20' tall if I remember right.

It looks to me like the installation will return enough power to the electric company to negate the usual $200. - $350. monthly electric bill and in some cases make a profit for the owner.

I believe the units will be at least $15,000. to have installed.

Granted, it'll take a while to pay for it if you had to finance it, but most of the folks involved can cover the initial cost right up front.

And the rest of the folks on the flatlands will keep on paying the usual electric bills which can be quite high in summer and winter with a bit of relief in spring and fall.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 04:36 AM
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What about the lower class? It would be pulled up to the middle hopefully. I say it would empower the middle class because self generation of energy presumes people own their own houses. This isn't always viable, and people with more mobile lifestyles still need a grid.

I know about the situation in Portugal, as I live here myself, but the problem is one of technological availability, cost and implementation. Selling power back to the grid is something which has only recently been implemented here at a global level and it has restrictions. For example you're capped on the amount of power you can put in the grid, which makes sense because if there was a mass movement the centralised system would go broke with an energy surplus, and we still need it to work, again for those who need the grid.

I know the elites don't what this to happen, but short of pushing the whole world into WWIII and attempting to push us back into the 18th century culturally they won't be able to keep it from happening, as people all over the world are getting tired of the exploitation this superwealth neonobility is trying to make the law of the planet. They are ruining the planet in an attempt to own it, and they need to be taken down a notch, and democratization, not just of politics but of economy, is the only effective way to do it.

Peace.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 06:10 AM
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reply to post by Zepherian
 


Judging by previous epochs in which a new technology was made available, I think that the middle class would turn itself in a higher class but would do everything to keep the lower classes from rising.

Unfortunately, that is what always happens.

Off-topic PS: are you Portuguese (like me) or a foreigner living in Portugal?



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 07:10 AM
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Originally posted by Desert Dawg
And the rest of the folks on the flatlands will keep on paying the usual electric bills which can be quite high in summer and winter with a bit of relief in spring and fall.
Maybe you can use solar power.

Solar panels are not powerful enough to supply a house (I think) but there are other ways of using solar power.

In very hot places (like in very cold places) the houses should be built in a thermally efficient way.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by ArMaP
reply to post by Zepherian
 


That could empower the middle class but what about the lower classes?


I think that you could see collectives develop. Several homeowners bind together and put up small grids to supplement the power they are receiving from the main grid. This would offset the high initial cost of the solar panels themselves, and could even provide enough power going back into the grid that electricity would be cheaper. Cheaper power would empower the "lower classes" as well.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:07 AM
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The middle class would raise it's standard of living as a whole, were it not by the continued meddleing from an old money higher class who do all they can to keep their position high by lowering the position of the other social groups. Sure, in this process they have allowed some people of the middle class to rise up in wealth and awareness, mostly people that share the same sociopathic lack of empathy and selfishness, but I disagree that it's human nature for everyone to do this. What I think happens is that the true global elite that is going for consolidation already owns the economies of the world enough so as to decide who and what gets to be economically viable and who dosen't, this is done via the control of credit, and you can see it happen all the time.

As for personal info, I'm portuguese but lets leave it at that



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by ArMaP

Solar panels are not powerful enough to supply a house (I think) but there are other ways of using solar power.


Not to flame you, but this statement is 150% false. I assure you solar panels can supply a house. It is easily acomplished.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:42 AM
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reply to post by Zepherian
 


Three cheers and a shiny new star for you!!

We absolutely need to get people off the grid.

I am experimenting with this. I have a satellite dish I am going to line with mirrors. My pressure vessel will be a used pressure cooker. I do not know how everything will be plumbed in. I plan to build a box around the dish to accommodate the piping and generator. Right now I am looking at using a used truck turbo powered by the steam to turn a generator and charge a bank of batteries. I still do not know how I am going to get the assembly to track the sun right now either.



[edit on 6-14-2008 by groingrinder]



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:49 AM
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reply to post by Desert Dawg
 


Three cheers and a star for you!!

The price is steep, but the rewards totally justify it. I think if a few more companies get involved the price could come down. There are lots of DIY resources out there now, but nothing that approaches the commercial units yet.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 10:53 AM
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reply to post by Animal
 


Starred and flagged. Thanks Animal! I am really surprised that this is not more widespread. I am partnering with a man in Las Vegas, Nev. who met with engineers several years ago to build a solar chimney and trash fired power plant there. Nothing has come of it yet though. Mason Williams let him use his song "Classical Gas" for the presentation CD.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 11:44 AM
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Originally posted by Animal

Originally posted by ArMaP
Solar panels are not powerful enough to supply a house (I think) but there are other ways of using solar power.

Not to flame you, but this statement is 150% false. I assure you solar panels can supply a house.

My previous statement is 100% correct because that is what I think, or at least what I was thinking at the time.


But you are correct, I should have said solar panels are not realistically powerful enough, but it depends on the number and size of solar panels, here in Portugal we have one of the biggest solar powered power plants in the world, in Amareleja.

They are expecting that more than 2,500 solar panels, each measuring 43x26 feet and weighing more than 2.2 tons will be able to provide electricity for some 30,000 homes, so we just have to make some calculations to see how much it could cost for each home. As this project is expected to cost 400 million dollars, it would cost 13,333 dollars for each home, it would take many years to make it worth it.

Also, these homes are small, with few people and not that many electric appliances.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 11:46 AM
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reply to post by groingrinder
 


Be careful, some centuries ago, a Portuguese monk (or priest, or something like that, I don't remember it well) made a solar furnace, and the heat was so much that it melted the furnace.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 12:13 PM
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My nephew lives in a house that is totally off the grid. He uses two 4'x8' solar panels (approximately, I've never taken the tape measure to them.) During the day, he says he makes way more electricity than he could ever use.

Interestingly enough, he says on overcast days, he makes more electricity than on totally clear days.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 12:15 PM
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reply to post by sir_chancealot
 


Hmmm, it looks like I am not up to date on these technologies.

I think I will try to learn more about it.



posted on Jun, 14 2008 @ 12:59 PM
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Originally posted by sir_chancealot
My nephew lives in a house that is totally off the grid. He uses two 4'x8' solar panels (approximately, I've never taken the tape measure to them.) During the day, he says he makes way more electricity than he could ever use.

Interestingly enough, he says on overcast days, he makes more electricity than on totally clear days.


I've gotten much worse sunburns on overcast days than sunny ones.
As I'm sure most of you have.


Solar panels are becoming more efficient all the time.

People have to change their way of thinking as well.

Once upon a time I asked a golf course manager why he didn't mount a solar panel on top of his rental electric golf carts to cut down on his electric bill.

His comment was - keep in mind this was a few years back - the panels don't put out enough to keep the carts charged.

My comment to him was, that it looked like solar could put about 60% of what he required into the cart and the rest could be supplied from the electric system.

He wasn't impressed and far as I know he's never done anything along the lines of solar panels.
Golf carts with their built in shade panel up top would be an ideal candidate I think.
Along with that it would help keep them going throughout the day.

Charging 40-50 golf carts from the system makes for a pretty high electric bill.


A small fwiw - an electric company, the larger ones anyway, have their own bulk power high voltage systems.
Combine these systems by electrically connecting them togther and you have a grid.

A large system or grid is good because it's easier to overcome the loss of a resource - generation stations or lines delivering power from outside the system.

Small systems isolated from the grid suffer more when they lose resources.


There is a company in Texas that builds houses that are out of town and more on thieir own than would be a house in the city.
They utilize solar, small windmills as described above, collect their own rainwater and are usually heavily insulated from thermal extremes that occur in the state.

President Bush has such a house and it stands in strong contrast to the houses of Edwards, Kerry, Kennedy and your favorite guy selling non-existent things like carbon credits, Mr. Al Gore.

There's an excellent documentary that the PBS stations carry that describes the building of, living in and operating these houses.
It is worth a watch.




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