Manual Physics of Solar Energy

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Solar generated heat can also be used for space heating, reducing costs there as well. A vacuum is created between the collector tubes and an outer glass tube.


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This allows the collector temperature to become even hotter, over degrees Celsius. The reason it gets hotter is because, in the absence of air, there is no heat loss due to convection, which is basically the transfer of heat to the glass tube, with air as the transfer path. With this heat loss medium removed, the collector heats up more. This high heat can be utilized for electricity generation. Using many heliostats mirrors , the sun is focused onto a central tower using tracking mechanisms. The power tower receives this concentrated energy to heat up water and run a steam turbine to generate electricity.

Heat from the power tower is initially stored in a salt compound which becomes liquid at high temperature, and its heat is then used to turn water into steam in order to run a steam turbine. Because of the ability of salt to act as an efficient thermal storage at high temperature and low pressure, it can be easily transported through piping and into a storage tank for subsequent use in the steam power generator. It can store sufficient heat energy to provide electricity generation well into the night, after the sun goes down. Efficiency is somewhat proportional to the size of the installation.

The figure below shows a SunCatcher system, in which a Stirling engine is placed near the focal point of a large parabolic dish, around 11 m in diameter. The dish is pointed directly at the sun using a tracking mechanism. This receiver channels the heat energy into the Stirling engine which generates electricity using an electric generator. The concentrated heat energy of the sun hitting the receiver can be as much as degrees Celsius!

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The higher the temperature, the more efficient a Stirling engine will be, due to the thermodynamics principle known as Carnot efficiency. This is the highest efficiency of any device that converts solar energy into electricity. Each SunCatcher can generate an average of 25 kW of power. Solar Cookers Pages Garg, H.

Volume 1: Solar Thermal Applications

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Garg M. Dayal G.

Solar cells -- the physics behind them

Furlan A. PAGE 1. To determine whether land that is already compromised holds enough potential for renewables, Baruch-Mordo and colleagues calculated how much energy is represented by the greenhouse-gas reductions that each nation has committed to under the Paris climate agreement. The team assumed that cuts in emissions would focus on electricity and heat generation, with renewable-energy sources replacing fossil fuels.

The researchers also included the potential output from retrofitting existing hydroelectric plants — assuming their efficiency could be slightly improved — and repurposing non-hydroelectric dams to become power-generating.

Physics and Technology of Solar Energy

New dams were disallowed because of the harm they cause to natural river processes. For a more ambitious target of total fossil-fuel replacement by including transport-related energy generation , the researchers found that, globally, converted land has more than one and a half times the potential capacity needed. Fewer individual nations could achieve the goal independently, however, so international agreements and electricity interconnections would be needed.

Because converted land is already used for other purposes, integrating new energy infrastructure will be challenging. Development of new technologies for integration such as solar roads or building-integrated solar thermal can also open new frontiers to incorporate renewable-energy generation into areas already modified by people. Browse all.

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