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Here Comes the Sun – Maximising the Use of Solar Energy

October 23rd, 2006 | No Comments | Posted in Energy- Renewable-Solar

You are at: Oilgae Blog (Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae Home Page)

See also: Oilgae Blog Article Directory for a complete listing of all Oilgae blog posts – covering news, research and updates on biodiesel from algae & other plant feedstock, ethanol, and other renewable energy such as wind energy, hydrogen, hydro-energy, tidal/wave energy, geothermal, solar energy & nuclear energy

An interesting blog post from Scientific American

Here Comes the Sun

The blog article discusses why it is imperative that more research be undertaken to figure out how to utilise sun’s energy better.


1. The sun pumps out more energy in one hour–4.3 x 1020 Joules of it hit the Earth–than all of the energy consumed by all of human endeavor in one year–4.1 x 1020 in 2001. That energy is largely wasted despite falling on some of the most efficient chemical converters of light energy–photosynthetic plants. Green plants and, more importantly, green algae and plankton only store up 0.5 percent of the sun’s bounty.

2. Some good news on the solar front: increases in the efficiency of silicon solar cells, new technologies, and new types of cells, such as the efficient, flexible ones, innovative new ways to finance photovoltaic installations.

3. With climate change upon us, it is imperative that we make the switch to carbon-free technologies. There are only two with any realistic chance of working: solar power and nuclear power.

4. Nuclear power has drawbacks, such as residual, deadly waste, reliance on uranium enrichment, chance of catastrophic accident. Nukes however have provided steady, dependable power to the U.S. for the last several decades.

5. Solar power is typically small and dispersed. It tends to provide power more to those who fear grid interruptions. It too has drawbacks, such as the competition for high quality silicon, woeful efficiency and the problem of intermittency.

6. In order to provide every human being with power–a noble goal–we are going to need 27 terawatts of power by mid-century, and we are going to need that power to be carbon free.

7. Lawrence Berkeley has launched Helios, an effort to harness the considerable but disparate research that might help us harvest the bounty of the sun. Other institutions are following suit, from the Sun Grant Initiative on biofuels at various land grant universities to a new X Prize for efficient automobiles.

Personalities mentioned: Steven Chu, the director of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Richard Smalley, one of the discoverers of carbon-60, more commonly known as buckminsterfullerene; Nathan Lewis of Cal Tech and Daniel Nocera of MIT in PNAS
Events mentioned: The Solar Power conference
Companies mentioned: SunEdison

Full blog article here

Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae
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algOS – Biodiesel from Algae Open Source

Oilgae – Oil & Biodiesel from Algae provides links, directory, web links resources for algae-based biofuels & biodiesel. Intended to be useful for research, information, inputs, news for buyers, sellers, manufacturers, traders, suppliers, producers, exporters / importers of algal oil and algal fuels. Will provide info on biofuel feedstock, algal feedstocks, algae oil and link details on fuel from algae, bio-fuel, bio-diesel, algal oils & bio-fuels production and uses, biofuels trade & market resources, price data, statistics, prices, demand-supply for buyer, seller, manufacturer, trader, supplier, exporter and producer

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