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View Diary: New Report: Solar could provide 100% of world's energy needs by 2050 using only 1% of world's land (204 comments)

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  •  Especially important at nighttime (11+ / 0-)

    Without some hefty advances in storage, solar is still dependent on good ole Sol.  Wind will defintely be of some help there.

    That said, we will never get rid of all non-renewable power plants just because we need a steady supply for baseload.

    •  We already HAVE made those storage advances. (12+ / 0-)

      Aqueous sodium battery.

      Nov 2011 diary: http://www.dailykos.com/...

      It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not gun control, it's people care.

      by JayFromPA on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:32:19 PM PST

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      •  And that's why they are ubiquitous? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HoundDog, nextstep, Loose Fur

        I can't pick up a magazine or hit a web page without them talking about those darned Aqueous sodium batteries!

        Ya know.. I judge technology by how fast it is incorporated into daily life.  If I don't have one, or if it isn't in use in my area, then there's some limitation (cost, feasibility, etc.) keeping it down.

        •  corporate greed n/t (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, ivote2004, Loose Fur

          -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

          by nicolemm on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:31:02 PM PST

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          •  And for the aqueous sodium, newness. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ivote2004, Loose Fur, Egalitare

            They are like when people were first starting to price email accounts and web domains. Too little was known about the intrinsic value of the web domain to accurately price it, and faced with the possibility of underpricing the service and causing who knows what as a side effect, they priced web domains high - and that very much slowed the advance of personally held web domains into the population until the registrars could see what should be proper pricing and such.

            Same thing with the aqueous. They should really be local municipal things, I think, because of their longevity... But everybody wants their own stuff, it's just the way people are. So they're going slow with introduction in order to feel out the parameters of the market.

            It's safe to trust a sane person with the keys to nuclear weapons, but it's not safe to trust an insane person with the cleaners under the kitchen sink. The answer is not gun control, it's people care.

            by JayFromPA on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 10:35:06 PM PST

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            •  I concur: mass storage probably has to be... (0+ / 0-)

              ... heavily government-underwritten to launch initially, probably government-owned/operated  to have effective and adequate penetration among all socio-economic groups.

              Solar, wind, low-head hydro, etc. in combination on most days will be sufficient (when broadly deployed) but storage is the biggest hurdle to be overcome.

              When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

              by Egalitare on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:11:09 AM PST

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          •  If it worked very well, corporate greed makes (0+ / 0-)

            it ubiquitous.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:30:07 PM PST

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      •  MIT Just Made the Real Total Breakthru (10+ / 0-)

        What we need is materials that can conduct heat the way we conduct electricity, especially like a diode: the component that lets energy move itself in only one direction through a wire. Martin Maldovan of MIT has developed thin films of "phononic crystals" that conduct heat under full control. The original materials already pull 40% of the heat into the lower frequencies where they can be directed without loss or mess. These efficiencies will get much closer to 100% with engineering now that the scientists have opened the door.

        So instead of building insulation working like a sponge for oozing heat, thin films would keep it all inside. Solar thermal collectors, already much cheaper and 2-3x as efficient as electric collectors, could send their heat down cables into a storage medium with high heat capacity (like a molten salt block), wrapped in these excellent insulators, to deliver the heat perhaps months or even years later. Just that system alone would mean NYC, where 70% of all energy consumed is by already above national average efficiency buildings, might consume under 1/3 the energy it does now. Other cities and buildings around the world not yet as efficient as NYC would improve even more.

        And then there's all the other applications that would make our current crude handling of heat into a technology finally comparable to the 20th Century electronics revolution. This new mastery is like when Ben Franklin and others around the Atlantic finally converted electricity from a natural force of lightning into an industrial resource.

        Our current energy/pollution imbalance is just a little too far into the waste category. If we could cut even just 20% of the US energy consumption that's 25% of the world's, that 5% might be enough to put us into a CO2-negative cycle that would roll back the Greenhouse. Probably not quick enough alone to stop the damage that might jack us into a new normal of droughts and hurricanes like a reverse Ice Age. But the US exporting tech and knowhow like this around the would would probably be enough to slow and then reverse the Greenhouse.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:19:09 PM PST

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    •  There's a really old engineer's joke about (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bon Temps, HoundDog, 207wickedgood

      a solar-powered night light.  Would be practical except for a really, REALLY long extension cord.

      Excludes batteries, but still a bit funny.

      Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

      by triplepoint on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:25:00 PM PST

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      •  I actually have a line of solar-powered lights (5+ / 0-)

        lining my front walk. They're cheaply made and the batteries only last about 9 months, but it gets me through the winter (when I'm getting home after dark).

        •  i have solar powered lights in my garden (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog, JayDean, splashy

          stores energy from day sun and stays on all night.

          Macca's Meatless Monday

          by VL Baker on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 04:52:28 PM PST

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          •  I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I saw an (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayDean, myboo, MRA NY, splashy

            ad for solar powered rocks in one of my google searches for new solar energy stories.

            At first, I thought it was a gimmick like "pet rocks."  

            Turns out that they had lights and batteries in them to line garden walkways so these were a legit product.

            I found solar powered lilly pads that powered pond fountains, decorative fence lighting fixtures, solar powered optic fiber flowers, and various solar powered "decorative" robotic insects and frogs and garden gnomes, and lots of fun stuff.

            The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

            by HoundDog on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:12:42 PM PST

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        •  It's not a very good joke if you have to explain (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog

          it.  The sun's half the world away at night, hence the extension cord.  

          Real plastic here; none of that new synthetic stuff made from chicken feathers. By the morning of 9/12/2001 the people of NYC had won the War on Terror.

          by triplepoint on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:14:55 PM PST

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        •  Several years ago I paid $40.00 for 8 solar (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          splashy, ModerateJosh, deepeco, Lawrence

          powered lights and they only lasted until about midnight. Now I can buy the lights for a dollar each at a dollar store and they last past 4 am.  The only problem I have is that if I put them too close to the front sidewalk people steal them around here. Progress is unstoppable. Now if I could make stealing stoppable.

          Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

          by arealniceguy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:58:00 PM PST

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    •  If it had a grid (7+ / 0-)

      that stored the energy it would be viable a real alternative to teh grease. Why can't this country commit itself to developing infrastructures and grids that use other sources of energy besides oil and the entrenched delivery of giant global entities? Their is a public will  most people do not like being dependent on the planet wreckers and the havoc  both economic, geopolitical and planetary. What we have here is dinosaurs in the form of corporate too bigs who will surely bring us all down with their insane earth destroying all to keep the profit flowing and the power intact firmly in a world that cannot handle what they say is inevitable and the only way forward.        

    •  The sun is always shining somehere! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      arealniceguy, splashy

      It's just a matter of sending some of the good stuff over to the dark side.

      Not trivial, I know - but not impossible, either.


      The Fail will continue until actual torches and pitchforks are set in motion. - Pangolin@kunstler.com

      by No one gets out alive on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 07:20:20 PM PST

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      •  It could be done with smoke and mirrors. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bon Temps, No one gets out alive

        Oh excuse me that is the Republican line.

        Our money system is not what we have been led to believe. The creation of money has been "privatized," or taken over by private money lenders. Thomas Jefferson called them “bold and bankrupt adventurers just pretending to have money.” webofdebt

        by arealniceguy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:01:35 PM PST

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    •  I disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deepeco, ivote2004, Lawrence

      We can get rid of all non-renewable power plants eventually. After all, the wind blows somewhere all the time, the rivers flow all the time, the tides come and go all the time, waves are waving all the time, etc.

      It's just a matter of having lots of different ways to generate power, along with some storage capacity.

      Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

      by splashy on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 09:40:22 PM PST

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