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if only we had better ways to harness energy
subcultured at 5:36PM, Nov. 3, 2008
posts: 5,392
joined: 1-7-2006
oh yea what about a solar furnace..might help alleviate the energy and pollution crisis. sun is free. there has to be some way to store that energy and release it to the public when needed.

It has been suggested that solar furnaces could be used in space to provide energy for manufacturing purposes.

A solar furnace is a structure used to harness the rays of the sun in order to produce high temperatures, usually for industry. This is achieved using a curved mirror (or an array of mirrors) that acts as a parabolic reflector, concentrating light (Insolation) onto a focal point. The temperature at the focal point may reach 3,000 °C (5,430 °F), and this heat can be used to generate electricity, melt steel, or make hydrogen fuel.

The term “solar furnace” has also evolved to refer to solar concentrator heating systems using parabolic mirrors or heliostats where 538 °C (1,000 °F) is now commonly achieved. The largest solar furnace in the world is at Odeillo in the Pyrenees of France, opened in 1970. It employs an array of plane mirrors to gather the rays of light from the sun, reflecting them on to a larger curved mirror. The rays are then focused onto an area the size of a cooking pot and can reach 3,000 °C (5,430 °F).

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:04PM
jagular at 9:31PM, Nov. 16, 2008
posts: 180
joined: 12-7-2006
What about harvesting DONUT power? funny aside, that seems like a good idea. I'm all for it. Especially if they can get one in space.
If anything bad happens,I'm blaming Global Warming.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:06PM
ipokino at 9:18AM, Nov. 18, 2008
posts: 161
joined: 2-25-2007
The problem with energy is generally a human mindset issue. We have learned how to convert substances into useful energy at will–and have even learned to harness the sun's energy in rudimentary fashion–but we still haven't figured out any really efficient ways to store energy in a useful way. Haven't really HAD to which is what has caused the mindset we currently have. Take electricity. We generate it any number of ways, but once we release it into the power grid it is either used or lost. We have no way, really, of saving any of it.
Sci-fi writers have held out the Holy Grails of energy storage devices several times. E. E. ‘Doc’ Smith used the ubiquitous “Accumulators” without ever once telling how these apparatuses worked. And Bob Heinlein did exactly the same with his “Shipstones”. The sad fact is, until we actually figure out a way to save and store energy in the MegaJoule range–we are always going to be energy wasters. And as any planetary economist can tell you–even the sun's energy has a limit–one easily within man's reach as an energy profligate abuser.
Mother nature in her wisdom HAS learned how to store energy. Oil and coal are energy stores made entirely naturally. Man however–despite his ability to duplicate these storage methods (albeit crudely) never will. The very idea of pumping water uphill into a dam (as a way to store the kinetic energy of the water for emergency use) or making a chunk of coal instead of simply burning one…is alien to us. And more the pity, because for all life…energy is finite…
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:02PM

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