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    August 01, 2008

    Update on solar (and wind) technology

    Posted by: Andoni

    Fuelcell

    In June I reported on the promising field of solar energy and how with a major government push, we could be using the sun for most of our energy needs within 10 years.

    Today’s New York Times brings even more good news on the topic. A major problem with wind and sun energy is that it can’t be produced 24/7. There are times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. The challenge is how to store the energy when it is generated into a usable form that can be used later, when there is no wind or it is dark.

    A group of scientists at MIT have found the answer. They have described an easy way to separate water into hydrogen and oxygen, and use the hydrogen later in a fuel cell to produce the energy. It is similar to the photosynthesis that plants use to store energy. When the hydrogen is used later in the fuel cell, it recombines with the oxygen and produces water and energy.

    One fascinating side aspect of this discovery is that the technique can use sea water. The result is that as a by-product, when the hydrogen and oxygen recombine in the fuel cell to create electricity, you also generate pure drinking water.

    So in one swoop, scientists can address two major problems facing the world -- a steady supply of clean energy as well as a major new reliable source of drinking water.

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    Comments

    1. Tim on Aug 1, 2008 11:24:49 AM:

      or you could think outside the box and make a fuel without using fuel (electricity).

      Here try something that makes hydrogen from crap.

    1. Double T on Aug 1, 2008 2:26:26 PM:

      Andoni,
      This is indeed very interesting.
      Have you been following the development of Solar Updraft Towers.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower

      One is suppose to be contructed in Australia. Completely pollution free, and it does function AT NIGHT( less than 100%).
      The floor is lined with rocks that continue to remain hot after sunset.

      Personaly, I think they should line the floor with solar collectors and get two for the price of one.

    1. Andoni on Aug 4, 2008 7:58:10 AM:

      Tim and Double T, thanks. Both articles were very interesting reading.

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