Wednesday, August 19, 2009

BYBS/W: Solar Power

Solar energy power generation systems. Image courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories.

One of the things that I really enjoy in life is when people come together to solve a problem. It demonstrates humanity's ability to cooperate, and when directed towards what I consider to be an intelligent and noble goal, it makes me feel good to be alive.

One problem that we face is the need for clean, cheap, renewable energy. Pictured here is a system that focuses sunlight to run a highly efficient electrical power generator.

Most of the technologies involved with a system like this are not new. The Stirling engine, for example, was invented in 1816. The notion of using mirrors to focus the energy of the sun has probably been around since there were mirrors. Using a computer to keep the dish pointed at the sun is probably the most recent creation.

This particular system may not be "the answer" or even a significant part of it. Some other approach could do the job better or cheaper or cleaner.

The thing that makes this remarkable to me is that it took a lot of thoughtful work to put all these elements together towards a common, relatively noble goal.

This link will take you to the full story on the system. It was created by the folks at Sandia Ntional Laboratories, Stirling Energy Systems and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.


PERBS said...

I found your research on this wuite interesting -- just foes to show that it takes a lot of minds at work to produce something as fabulous as harnessing solar power for useful purposes.

SandyCarlson said...

I too am amazed by what comes out of a little bit of cooperation.