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Store and Transport Solar Energy
- Without climate-altering gases
- 10km X 10km collection area = GLOBAL USE
Most of us, when we think about solar energy, think hot water, or photovoltaic electricity.
There's another side to Solar: High-Temperature. Concentrate solar energy (yes-smoke and mirrors) and we get large amounts of energy at the highest temperature possible on earth.
Solar Chemistry is the form of solar energy that CAN store energy "for a rainy day", or ship it to Iceland.
Here's how it works:
Solar energy, incident on our planet at about 1 kW/square meter (think 1 hairdryer per beach towel), is concentrated with mirrors to produce temperatures as high as 3000C; but more commonly in the 1000-2000C (1800-3500F) range.
Use this energy to perform a chemical reaction; the products of that reaction represent stored solar energy. We know how to store chemical products; we're not so advanced when it comes to storing electricity or heat.
The most promising reaction is the zinc-hydrogen cycle. Zinc will split water to produce hydrogen; the oxygen from the water reattaches to the zinc to form zinc oxide. The zinc oxide is returned to the high-temperature solar reactor, where the oxygen is removed, and the zinc is shipped to a place without sunshine, or used at night to provide a continuous source of energy.
BUT-zinc can also be used in a zinc-air battery with a very high energy-density. There are buses in Israel running on zinc-air systems.
The best news is that systems like this can operate without releasing ANY carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
1) There is a way to capture solar energy, store that energy and transport it from sunny areas to areas like the "Pacific Northwest Winter" climate.
2) The technology to do this is well-developped and can operate without producing climate-altering gases.
Former US representative to IEA for Solar Chemistry and Director of Research, CNRS Solar Research for Materials and Processes (PROMES)
posted 3 years, 11 months ago
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