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World is moving towards solar energy, because the input (sun light) is public good with features of zero purchasing cost (free), abundance and unlimited access. According to IEA (International Energy Agency)estimate, solar energy would produce quarter of the world energy by 2050. Why is it so? Due to development of new techniques and devices, more of sun energy can be harnessed.
Harnessing solar energy through artificial photosynthesis is new but very well known technique. According to Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (2010) report it produces hydrogen from water by using semi conductor cuprous oxide. The problem is instability of oxide. The problem was overcome by usind atomic layered deposition (ALD) technique that involves covering semi conductor with thin film of atoms as zinc oxide and titanium oxide. Cuprous oxide is inexpensive and widely available, this ALD technique give complete impermeable layer. The process advances photo-electrochemical production of Hydrogen
Dr.Grimes (2005) writes at Penn state, Research work is under way to harness solar energy through highly ordered arrays of titania nanotubes arrays that would produce hydrogen and ultimately lead to rise in solar efficiency. It’s about exposing water with these arrays to sunlight, through the process of photolysis and UV illumination efficiency would be high almost 13% and result in more hydrogen against per photon. The purpose is to replace most used and depleting energy sources as petroleum through creating replenish-able stock of alternative energy.
At University of Utah (2007) physicists worked to convert heat into sound and then sound into electricity through formulating new devices. First they developed new heat engines formerly called thermoacoustics prime movers and then transformed sound into power using piezoelectric (piezo for pressure). How it works? These devices are addressed in resonators (cylinder shaped), that contains pile of material and kept in between hot and cold heat exchanger. After heat is applied, it builds to threshold with air producing sound at single frequency, these waves squeeze the device and electrical voltage is produced. These devices require flexibility of moving parts but they have long life.
Wood Angela(2008) studied that Photovoltaic or solar panels are most known these days due to least operational cost. It use silicon or any other similar material for chemical reaction with light. results in flow of currents that can be used or stored in battery. Solar Power generation could be enhanced by SPS(Solar power Satellites). To avoid set up cost of solar panels, extensive land space requirement) SPS can be placed in geostationary orbit. The sunlight is vastly available in space, SPS would convert solar energy into electricity and then into microwaves. These microwaves would be radiated at rectenna fields to convert itself back into electricity for distribution onwards to users.
More work has been done regarding capturing and using solar energy rather than storing it, some initial research has been done by MIT’s Jeffrey Grossman for new method to have indefinitely transferable and storable energy. This research depends on molecule fulvalene diruthenium that absorbs sun rays and changes its shape into semi-stable form then afterwards by adding a catalyst it gets back into previous form, in the last stage energy is released that can be used to heat any appliance. It is expected that in liquid form molecule can convert and store solar power. (New solar world.blogspot)
There are news about Physicists are working to create Super Skin. charged by solar energy. Process is being developed in Iowa University for layers that can constantly absorb light on textured substrates, thus increasing efficiency of polymer cells. Through solar energy use, portable solar tents have been designed to help in rescue work for victims of natural disaster. Solar power is changing the dimensions of the world we see by more new inventions as solar powered wheel chairs, keyboards, thermo-chemical solar powers and solar power towers (alternative-energy-news.info).
Craig Jrimes (2005). Research Article: Titania Nanotube Arrays
Harness Solar Energy. Materials Research Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.mri.psu.edu/articles/BC/research/CraigGrimes/index.asp
News. Information About Solar Energy Technologies
Retrieved from http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/technology/solar-power
Unknown (2010). Research Article Liquid Energy can Store
and Harness Solar Energy. New World Solar Blog
Retrieved from: http://newworldsolar.blogspot.com/2010/11/liquid-battery-could-harness-and-store.html
Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (2010). Harnessing the
Energy of the Sun: New Technique Improves Artificial Photosynthesis. Scienceline.com
Retrieved from: http://www.sciencenewsline.com/physics/2011051113000021.html
University of Utah Media Report(2007).
Retrieved from http://www.led-professional.com/technology/thermal-management/new-method-to-cool-electronics-harness-waste-heat-and-sunlight
Woods Angela (2008). Look Up And See The Light. Engineer Girl.
Retrieved From: http://www.engineergirl.org/Object.File/Master/9/656/Woods_Angela.