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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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ok, that is very very clever. Especially the way they are using multiple U shaped lenses to trap the photons until they can be absorbed.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Neat article, thanks. Worth paying extra attention to the final paragraph:

Lots of great sounding technologies never make it past the demonstration phase, or they get caught up in market forces beyond their developers' control. But in this case, market forces are clearly working in the devices' favor. As installation costs become an ever larger fraction of the total cost of a solar installation, it's clear that getting more out of each installation is likely to be critical.
Some of that is true, some less obviously so. The start-up Solyndra was working on broad-spectrum PV concentrators very like this; it became a political football when it crashed and burned. Market forces in that case: rapidly dropping per-watt cost of conventional PV -- mostly from China, which made no secret it was willing to dump for the sake of cornering the global RE market. It's hard to capitalize or sell more efficient technologies when the price of extant tech is dropping 10% a year. Just buy twice as many panels at $0.85 a watt, right?

So new tech, better tech, often requires niche buyers until it is ready for prime time. That's normally spelled military or aerospace programs, where performance is all, weight matters, and cost is no object. You are launching a $20 billion comm satellite with limited collecting surface and paying by the pound, GA solar panels are very intriguing.

As it happens, sailboats are similarly short on mounting space, so we could benefit from higher efficiencies. But truth be told, makers of conventional PV have done really well packing more transistors into a given square inch; my panels are ten years old and rated at half the output of new panels of equal dimensions. Without recourse to exotic tech, manufacturers have already doubled the efficiency (measured as power/area) of PV in a decade, while cutting the cost per watt by 60%. I expect they still have some room for improvement on both fronts, meaning new tech like thin film GA will continue to struggle for funding and market share: as long as old tech keeps improving and the price keeps coming down, the fat middle of the bell curve will be content to buy a few extra panels, achieve the same results, and pocket the savings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
I was thinking of the limited real estate on boats & satellites, where you may not have room for an extra couple of panels, regardless of their efficiency or price. What will really send the fecal matter into the air impeller is when inexpensive room-temperature superconductors hit the market. You'll see efficiencies go through the roof. With a little tinkering you'll be able to power your whole boat with a square meter of pv panel.
 

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I don't understand what you mean by inexpensive room-temperature semiconductors. We have them. They did revolutionize our life, starting with the transistor radio going all the way to the personal computer. But that was many moons ago. Did you mean superconductors? It would be cool to have a superconductor electric motor, but I don't think resistive electric losses that you would be eliminating are large enough to call this a revolution, so your best bet is probably still on improved battery or fuel cell technology.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I don't understand what you mean by inexpensive room-temperature semiconductors. We have them. They did revolutionize our life, starting with the transistor radio going all the way to the personal computer. But that was many moons ago. Did you mean superconductors? It would be cool to have a superconductor electric motor, but I don't think resistive electric losses that you would be eliminating are large enough to call this a revolution, so your best bet is probably still on improved battery or fuel cell technology.
You're right -- pardon my senior moment. Edited the post.

I'm thinking more of the revolution in power supplies & power transmission we'll see. The oil companies will not like it at all. A single thunderstorm could power a city for a year.
 

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baDumbumbum
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Heh. When someone figures out how to incorporate PV films into laminate sail construction, we're golden.;) Might even convince people to hoist their sails once in awhile....

It is vaguely annoying to look at my solar array, with its eight 135W monocrystallines, & know the same sized panels bought today would rate 250W and cost $100 less per.:( It's Moore's Law in slow motion. That's one reason we will wait until quite late in the refit to buy PV: let power densities keep climbing, cost/watt keep dropping, and maybe have a better selection of thin film products to choose from for a couple locations. Still don't forsee fitting more than about 200W total on the Ballad, tho. Good for only 1kWh/day, but then we don't have refrigeration, so that might be enough.
 

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You're right -- pardon my senior moment. Edited the post.

I'm thinking more of the revolution in power supplies & power transmission we'll see. The oil companies will not like it at all. A single thunderstorm could power a city for a year.
I'd love to see cheap(er) and cleaner ways of producing electricity. But it's not just making it, it's also storing it. How would you store a years worth of power from the thunderstorm?
Also, what technology is getting the power from the storm? Is is from the lightning?
I'm not too worried about the oil companies. I think they'll have plenty of business for long time. I don't see economical transportation alternatives for all our transportation needs for a long time, unless there are batteries I'm unaware of. I've seen some cool ideas, but the odds are long I think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'd love to see cheap(er) and cleaner ways of producing electricity. But it's not just making it, it's also storing it. How would you store a years worth of power from the thunderstorm?
Also, what technology is getting the power from the storm? Is is from the lightning?
I'm not too worried about the oil companies. I think they'll have plenty of business for long time. I don't see economical transportation alternatives for all our transportation needs for a long time, unless there are batteries I'm unaware of. I've seen some cool ideas, but the odds are long I think.
Capture the lightning, store it in a superconducting storage ring surrounded by pickups to extract energy from the circling electrons. Like the opposite of the particle accelerators used in particle physics research. I read about the concept years ago, maybe in Scientific American Magazine, but I'm not sure. Superconducting power transmission lines mean less energy wasted as heat, fewer & smaller substations, less material needed to get power from where it is made/stored to where it is used.
 

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Corsair 24
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I cant beleive people havent figured out how to store power from lightning....

this is an honest thought....there has to be a way...maybe they have and are not letting the tech out or something

probably so...jajaja

with you know $$$$ oil industry still around...
 

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Christian... it's been tried before... problem is while it's millions of volts at hundreds of thousands of amps... it is of such short duration it blows out whatever equipment it is attached to store this energy... think of the static zap from your fingers on dry days... a better way to harness this energy would be a tether getting EMF energy from the atmosphere similar to the tether experiment in space using the Space Shuttle and a satellite... the energy was so strong it snapped the cable. See here:

The Space Tether Experiment

While this works in space due to the vacuum there it's much more of a challenge here under an atmosphere... another version might be capturing the lightning strike to a transformer and reducing the high voltage to low voltage/high amps into some nano capacitors/batteries or using that energy to drive energy storing flywheels... both too far in the distant future to use... not to mention expensive... at least for boats.

Technology - About Flywheel Energy Storage : Beacon Power, LLC
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's where room-temperature superconductors come in - they could absorb the lightning without being destroyed. It's already being done on a small scale using cryogenic superconductors.

Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage
 

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That's where room-temperature superconductors come in - they could absorb the lightning without being destroyed. It's already being done on a small scale using cryogenic superconductors.

Superconducting Magnetic Energy Storage
Manatee... to date the room temperature superconductors are lab studies and samples about the size of a pea... such as those being studied at Los Alamos, and other universities but doesn't constitute any actual energy storage capability for decades or more... we won't see an actual superconductive unit for a boat use for a lot more time... most superconductors currently in use need cryogenic cooling which for us on boats will never happen. we currently are at the stage of transition between solid state transistors of the 1960's to integrated circuits of the mid 1970's... so I give it a decade of research and finally we will see actual working units with room temp superconductive materials. I think 2020-2025 will see a magnitude rise in the use of these units.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Manatee... to date the room temperature superconductors are lab studies and samples about the size of a pea... such as those being studied at Los Alamos, and other universities but doesn't constitute any actual energy storage capability for decades or more... we won't see an actual superconductive unit for a boat use for a lot more time... most superconductors currently in use need cryogenic cooling which for us on boats will never happen. we currently are at the stage of transition between solid state transistors of the 1960's to integrated circuits of the mid 1970's... so I give it a decade of research and finally we will see actual working units with room temp superconductive materials. I think 2020-2025 will see a magnitude rise in the use of these units.
I hope it comes that soon. :)

I'm thinking of all the fields Room Temperature SuperConductors will change. It's a bit like the quote attributed to Ben Franklin & Michael Faraday when asked what good their research & discoveries were: "What use is a newborn baby?" I can imagine running all the electronics on your boat with a few milliwatts per day, so batteries won't *have* to get better, though my guess is they will change considerably in how they work. The 'guts' may be quite different, but it will still be called a battery. New computer architectures; devices that produce no or very little waste heat when operating; truly useful electric motors of considerable power that won't sink your boat under their weight...and stuff we haven't even thought of because we don't know enough. It's interesting times in applied physics.
 

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I hope it comes that soon. :)

I'm thinking of all the fields Room Temperature SuperConductors will change. It's a bit like the quote attributed to Ben Franklin & Michael Faraday when asked what good their research & discoveries were: "What use is a newborn baby?" I can imagine running all the electronics on your boat with a few milliwatts per day, so batteries won't *have* to get better, though my guess is they will change considerably in how they work. The 'guts' may be quite different, but it will still be called a battery. New computer architectures; devices that produce no or very little waste heat when operating; truly useful electric motors of considerable power that won't sink your boat under their weight...and stuff we haven't even thought of because we don't know enough. It's interesting times in applied physics.
Actually if you couple room temperature superconductors with nuclear batteries we might get away from batteries/grid power altogether.

The nuclear battery uses an isotope of tritium and it kicks off electrons through natural decay which can last 25 years... since tritium has a half life of 12.5 years this is the total amount of power before it uses the other half life which is another 12.5 years... this was used earlier but with plutonium on spacecraft to power the electronics besides solar PV's.

A 25-Year Battery | MIT Technology Review

You can actually make a nuclear battery yourself if you can find as many older clocks and watches that used 'radium' as the glow in the dark dials... remember those? Well they don't use radium dials anymore because of the radiation... many of the smoke detectors today also use Americium-241 is made in nuclear reactors, and is a decay product of plutonium-241... although the amount used is smaller than the point of a needle... this is used in the ionization chamber and detects changes (smoke particles) that then sets off the electronics in the detector and the alarm we all love.

Future spacecraft could be powered by nuclear waste | TG Daily

I actually removed one of these smoke detectors to use the Americium 241 beta decay for my son's cloud chamber science project... it worked beautifully and won him first place... He recorded the beta decay traces on video as it shows up as swirls in the cooled alcohol chamber in the dark with background lighting.
 

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...

I actually removed one of these smoke detectors to use the Americium 241 beta decay for my son's cloud chamber science project... it worked beautifully and won him first place... He recorded the beta decay traces on video as it shows up as swirls in the cooled alcohol chamber in the dark with background lighting.
Guitar, that is cheating. Your son should do it, not you.

The paper Manatee is referring to is incorrect: Si-based solar cells improve all the time.

Then, it is quite clear that GaAs-based solar cells will have higher efficiency. That has been known for years.
Problem with GaAs (thin or thick) is to grow it on a good substrate. This has been discussed and worked on for 25-30 years. Works fine for small components, as a transistor. Still, it is very difficult to get a good & even quality over a wafer.

Supply of Ga is limited. Compare this with Si which has almost unlimited supply. Processing GaAs is exclusive, usually involves difficult process as CVD/MOCVD, and the gas used is not your family friend. Compare to Si, which is an easy proces - simple.

High Temperature SuperCondutivity (HTSC) ... "invented" by Müller et al in the 1980-ies. Great hopes then, but not much use. Still 70 degreee K is required. Room temp? That will take some time.

Do not be folled with all that is shown at the annual science fair.

/J
 

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Guitar, that is cheating. Your son should do it, not you.

Do not be folled with all that is shown at the annual science fair.

/J
You have no right to say that and I'm completely offended by your words here!

My son did all this experimenting, built the unit himself, and instead of just using cosmic and natural decays going through the alcohol cloud, I suggested he use a smoke detector... I allowed him to buy one and told him where to get the material and safe handling of the ionization chamber... he read up and did the rest! My son was an advanced placement student at the time taking advanced classes all through high school... he already had college credits while in high school... he didn't need my help trust me!

I'm amazed you come here and start spouting nonsense on things you know nothing of... maybe envy you or your child didn't win a science fair project?

PS... By the way my son just graduated with a BS Microbiology this semester and is ready for the Medical School in Augusta Georgia... his study for his PHD... Neuro-Genetic Micro-Engineering!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
You have no right to say that and I'm completely offended by your words here!

My son did all this experimenting, built the unit himself, and instead of just using cosmic and natural decays going through the alcohol cloud, I suggested he use a smoke detector... I allowed him to buy one and told him where to get the material and safe handling of the ionization chamber... he read up and did the rest! My son was an advanced placement student at the time taking advanced classes all through high school... he already had college credits while in high school... he didn't need my help trust me!

I'm amazed you come here and start spouting nonsense on things you know nothing of... maybe envy you or your child didn't win a science fair project?

PS... By the way my son just graduated with a BS Microbiology this semester and is ready for the Medical School in Augusta Georgia... his study for his PHD... Neuro-Genetic Micro-Engineering!
Outstanding! Congrats to your son. Is he going to be working on the nano-biobots to fix things like damaged spinal chord, Alzheimer's, diabetes & sickle-cell, fight viri & cancers?

P.S. I have a defective brain. If he needs a volunteer for studying methods to enhance hypothalamus & pituitary functions, I'm available. :)
 

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Outstanding! Congrats to your son. Is he going to be working on the nano-biobots to fix things like damaged spinal chord, Alzheimer's, diabetes & sickle-cell, fight viri & cancers?

P.S. I have a defective brain. If he needs a volunteer for studying methods to enhance hypothalamus & pituitary functions, I'm available. :)
Thanks... We are very proud parents indeed. The story of why he is majoring in this field of study has to do with my wife's epilepsy. He vowed that when he finished his studies he would pursue all his efforts in working the neuro makeup of the brain to find the mechanism and hopefully some way to prevent this affliction in people.

Now if helping him in elementary, middle school, and high school with science projects and such brought him up to this point in his life then I feel we have done a great job as parents.
 

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Folks just for giggles, I would strongly advise that any Americium not be removed from any smoke detectors. It is just not good karma. There are other sealed sources available on the market that are decent Beta and Alpha emiters of limited quantities that can purchased. For a cloud chamber you can even just use cosmic radiation. They make good tracks and show that naturals from what is in the ground to what comes from the sun are a way of life.:cool:
 
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