High-efficiency solar energy tech turns water into steam

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posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:17 PM
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So I was just checking out if there were any new technologies coming out and I came across this article. I did a little search looking for the title and removing the high-efficiency part but couldn't see anything...

So anyway it is a new, more efficient solar device.

From the article...




A team of researchers at Rice University has developed a new technology that uses light-absorbing nanoparticles to convert solar energy directly into steam. Even though it is already significantly more efficient than solar panels at producing electricity, the technology will likely find its first applications in low-cost sanitation, water purification and human waste treatment for the developing world.


Thought it sounded like a real step forward and as it is early days there will be much more room for improvement. It claims to have a 24% conversion rate compared to 15% for solar panels. Also it is interesting that it is so versatile with its applications.

Take a read and let me know what you think...


Edit, sorry what an idiot, I forgot the link! lol

www.gizmag.com...
edit on 21-11-2012 by mee30 because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:36 PM
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I'm confused as to what is so special about this?

Still hooks up to a steam powered turbine, correct?

So this material absorbs more light, thus heating it and turning water that goes through into steam?



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:37 PM
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www.youtube.com...

Related^^

That video astonishes me. That is simply 2 square meters of focused sunlight.



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:39 PM
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reply to post by mee30
 

The UN came out over a decade ago with what they call a solar furnace that is cheap and easy to make. If directed at a boiler it will create very powerful steam which can be used with a car alternator to provide power or charge battery's. Easy enough to create your own power but it seems like few are interested.



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:41 PM
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reply to post by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARS
 





I'm confused as to what is so special about this? Still hooks up to a steam powered turbine, correct? So this material absorbs more light, thus heating it and turning water that goes through into steam?


Did you read the article? You see nothing "special" in there?




Other potential uses could be powering hybrid air-conditioning and heating systems that run off of sunlight during the day and off of electricity at night. The system has also proved very promising in distilling water, with an experiment finding that the technology is about two and a half times more efficient than existing commercially available systems.


Like this perhaps?

Even the fact that it is nearly twice as efficient as solar panels this early on is something "special" no?



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:45 PM
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Originally posted by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARS
I'm confused as to what is so special about this?

Still hooks up to a steam powered turbine, correct?

So this material absorbs more light, thus heating it and turning water that goes through into steam?


It doesn't have to..

here:



The technology converts about 80 percent of the energy coming from the sun into steam. With the current iteration, passing the resulting steam to a turbine would generate electricity with an overall efficiency of 24 percent..


So if you just need hot water or steam alone and not electricity it is 80% efficient. If you make electricity with it it's still 24% efficient which is a lot better than 15%.. that's a 37% increase in energy for the same amount of sunlight for electricity..



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:46 PM
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reply to post by Retikx
 


Incredible! Not seen that one before, thanks a lot...

There are just so many ways of getting power from the sun, I just can't wait till we get something cheap and efficient so we can all get off the grid... One can dream anyway.



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 07:48 PM
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reply to post by Jerk_Idiot
 





The UN came out over a decade ago with what they call a solar furnace that is cheap and easy to make. If directed at a boiler it will create very powerful steam which can be used with a car alternator to provide power or charge battery's. Easy enough to create your own power but it seems like few are interested.


Yeah it is ridiculous that we aren't taking more advantage from the sun. Hopefully one day we will get to it on our own... I'll definitely look into that though, thanks.



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 08:23 PM
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reply to post by Dustytoad
 


Yeah... no, still not seeing it.

I suppose that improved efficiency is one thing to be proud of, but these are not even milestones and every example of potential use, is basically obtainable by today's standard solar technology. This hasn't changed anything... and I wouldn't jump the steam power train, when it comes to this particular technology... considering the engineering required to actually accomplish anything of significance.

I'm pro-solar, by all means... I just don't see anything all that amazing about this, IMO.

I'm still waiting on my Archimedes tower of solar panels, or solar furnace to be erected in all major cities... lol.
Which is kinda cool, because if you Google Archimedes tower, the MIT image actually directs you to this thread I created:

www.abovetopsecret.com...

3D Solar, Re-Design, Archimedes Tower of Solar Cells

maybe someone will be inspired and actually construct one lol

btw, it would have to rotate





posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 08:35 PM
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reply to post by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARS
 





I suppose that improved efficiency is one thing to be proud of, but these are not even milestones and every example of potential use, is basically obtainable by today's standard solar technology. This hasn't changed anything... and I wouldn't jump the steam power train, when it comes to this particular technology... considering the engineering required to actually accomplish anything of significance.


How do solar panels produce steam then? It would be HIGHLY inefficient...

If you can not see the benefits to this and you dont think that it is important to be 2 and a half times more efficient at distilling water, i can't help you...

Also I don't understand this part... "and I wouldn't jump the steam power train, when it comes to this particular technology... considering the engineering required to actually accomplish anything of significance." It doesn't make sense because they have done experiments and found that after everything is said and done it is more efficient than sloar panels...




I'm pro-solar, by all means... I just don't see anything all that amazing about this, IMO.


You're opinion is noted..




I'm still waiting on my Archimedes tower of solar panels, or solar furnace to be erected in all major cities... lol. Which is kinda cool, because if you Google Archimedes tower, the MIT image actually directs you to this thread I created:


Solar panels have a long way to go too and are not discounted by this new tech, I mean you would rather have panels on your roof than one of these... I've even seen them being put into windows and such... It isn't really a competition... This tech can just be just for way more applications...

Surely every new advancement is a good thing?



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 08:46 PM
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reply to post by Retikx
 


Fantastic demo... is there a good guide on a DIY solar furnace than can be as powerful as that one (I notice several opportunities for improvement on that one, for instance removing the smoke would optimize it and using mirrors to re-reflect the light as best as possible coming from the focal point would also increase performance).



posted on Nov, 21 2012 @ 09:45 PM
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Hol;y crap batman.....
This is good news...the first i have heard that shows signifigant promise....
I can think of many different uses too!
cOULD BE WE HAVE A WINNER!
CLEAN EFFICIENT AND IS IT CHEAP TO MAKE?
WE DONT NEED TECH THAT TAKES A LOT OF OIL OR STUFF TO PRODUCE.....



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 12:34 AM
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reply to post by mee30
 


From what I've always understood, the issue isn't just the efficiency in creating steam, but rather what happens there after.

en.wikipedia.org...

The sun doesn't always shine...




The salt melts at 131 °C (268 °F). It is kept liquid at 288 °C (550 °F) in an insulated "cold" storage tank. The liquid salt is pumped through panels in a solar collector where the focused sun heats it to 566 °C (1,051 °F). It is then sent to a hot storage tank. This is so well insulated that the thermal energy can be usefully stored for up to a week.[citation needed]

When electricity is needed, the hot salt is pumped to a conventional steam-generator to produce superheated steam for a turbine/generator as used in any conventional coal, oil or nuclear power plant. A 100-megawatt turbine would need a tank of about 30 feet (9.1 m) tall and 80 feet (24 m) in diameter to drive it for four hours by this design.

Several parabolic trough power plants in Spain[7] and solar power tower developer SolarReserve use this thermal energy storage concept.


I'm a fan

Awesome article I just found...

Batteries for Energy Storage: New Developments Promise Grid Flexibility and Stability
www.renewableenergyworld.com...

This is the part that really matters... turning water into steam isn't all that amazing. And molten sand goes a heck of a ways longer.

Where's the advancement in nano-magma? For real... or just stop it all together and begin some hydrogen farming! We keep beating around the bush lol. Solar leads to hydrogen fuel...



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 07:11 PM
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I designed a system like this a bit over twenty years ago.

It works well (despite one of the idiot prof's at the uni where I did my engineering degree saying that it could not possibly work efficiently), though there is a significant problem with the unit cooling overnight(thermal loss).

I - somewhat - solved the thermal loss problem rather easily with a customised case that resembled a small glass observatory and a thermal storage tank that allowed the unit to work for a few hours after sunset. (there is far more to it but that is about as detailed as I am willing to get on ATS).


My concept involved all new houses being built with these solar systems to supply the grid during the day for business's and ultimately provide a baseload power source for daylight hours. Households could also do away with hot water systems and directly heat the household water via a heat-exchanger.

What I think the big advantage of these "household" sized power generators is that the service costs are born by the householder and not the general public. All the power companies have to do is maintain the grid so that they can buy power off the householders to sell to business's.

Win win.
edit on 22/11/2012 by OccamAssassin because: (no reason given)





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