DailyDirt: Solar Powered Transportation

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

The sun blankets our planet in about 100 terawatts of energy every year -- far more than the 15 terawatts that people use annually (largely from fossil fuels). Solar power isn't quite ready to solve all of our energy problems, but solar technology is getting better and better. Here are just a few first steps that could boost solar power use for transportation. If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post via StumbleUpon.

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  1. identicon
    phils, Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 6:01pm


    "100 terawatts of energy"

    terawatts is a unit of POWER, not of ENERGY.

    The total solar energy provided to the earth in a year needs to be expressed in units like terawatt-hours or terawatt-seconds or maybe yottawatts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 6:42pm

    Re: units (and HELD FOR CENSORSHIP)

    actually energy and power are the same thing, 1 watt is 1 joule, and is a measure of energy and power.

    1 watt is 1 amp at 1 volt for 1 second

    so a 1 watt light globe (that is turned on) might be using 1 volt and drawing 1 amp, and is producing the POWER of 1 watt of light energy.

    he is more correct using the term energy than power, as power is energy at work, and all the sun light falling on the earth is not 'put to work'.

    So you have a lot of power falling on the earth, that has more energy than our present energy demands.

    Converting energy to power is what this article is about.

    Look TD got something right !!!! :)

    (But I will still be HELD FOR CENSORSHIP, for 4 or 5 days) !!!!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    bogusstrawman, Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 6:47pm

    Adelaide to Mt Barker?

    That is about 30K. I think you mean left Adelaide, went around the world, and arrived back at Mt Barker.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 3rd, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    I wish solar panel prices would come down. Mankind can manufacture miniature computers "smartphones" for around $100, yet it's seems beyond our ability to build an affordable solar panel.

    I admit, I have no idea how much a solar panel costs. They must still be pretty expensive though, because hardly anybody on this planet uses them.

    Yes, I know they require batteries too. I would think the batteries should cost more than the solar panels, themselves. Guess we need to work on battery prices too.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. icon
    OneSeraph (profile), Oct 4th, 2013 @ 12:39am

    The amount of solar energy that reaches the earths surface per year is estamated to be greater that 121 PWh that's Petawatts.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. icon
    Ninja (profile), Oct 4th, 2013 @ 4:36am

    45mph for a plane is... Laughable. I do hope it evolves though. Maybe nuclear batteries powered planes? :

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    RyanNerd (profile), Oct 4th, 2013 @ 5:47am

    Great Scott!

    1.21 Gigawatts!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    michael, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 10:23am


    "45mph for a plane is... Laughable."

    This may shock you, but the first automobile wasn't a Lexus. And the first computer couldn't run Crysis, either.

    Have you ever actually designed and built anything? Was it spectacular perfection, or was it a proof of concept onwhich to build a better model?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    phils, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    Re: units

    Oops -- last word in that post should be yottajoules, not yottawatts.

    [I wrote it correctly the first time I tried posting it but for some reason it didn't post. I screwed up when I tried to hurry up and re-post.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    phils, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: units (and HELD FOR CENSORSHIP)

    1 watt is NOT 1 joule

    1 watt is 1 joule per second

    1 watt-second is 1 joule

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 4th, 2013 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: units (and HELD FOR CENSORSHIP)

    yes, your right, the point is a joule is energy and a watt is power.

    A battery can have say 10 joules of energy, but it does not become power until it's used.

    A donut might have 30 joules of energy, but unless you eat it for burn it, you don't get that power from it.

    I meant to type a joule is 1 watt for 1 second or 1 amp at 1 volt for 1 second.

    1 joule of energy can be converted to 1 watt for 1 second.
    Again, the point is still the same, and the correct term used by the author of this article.

    Solar panels are still expensive to make as opposed to CPU's and computers because much higher amounts of raw materials are required, of high quality and there is not the economies of scale either.

    A lot of cars are made too, they are not significantly cheaper then years ago, they have economy of scale, but a car like a solar panel requires a lot of materials, especially high grade (IC grade) silicon ingots.

    far, far more geothermal energy available on earth that is available from sun light.

    We live on a thin layer of rock floating on a massive sea of nuclear powered molten rock. (magma in the earth, lava when on the surface).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Burning man, Oct 6th, 2013 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Adelaide to Mt Barker?

    I would assume that is Mt. Barker in Western Australia a few thousand km's away on the other side of the Nullabor plain. An event a few years ago when a man had a heart attack on the Mt. Barker golf course caused the ambulance to be dispatched to the wrong golf course in the wrong town in the wrong state all because his quick thinking friend used his mobile phone for assistance. The operator assumed he was phoning from somewhere else and the friend didn't think the operator was interstate or that there was another golf course in a town with the same name, so didn't clarify which state he was in. I can't recall if the heart attack patient survived or not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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