L12 - Chapter 12-13 Solar and Other Energy Systems...

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While the fossil-fuel and nuclear plants overwhelmingly dominate the production of electricity, the renewable sources may alleviate the environmental impact and in the future may even offer an alternative: 1. Solar energy : various conversion technologies are used to convert the sunlight into heat and electricity US employs solar power plants, such as the 354 MW plant in Mohave Desert 2. Hydroelectric : converts mechanical energy of waterfalls. However, the necessary dams are not environmentally and societally friendly: for instance, a dam can have several times larger greenhouse effect per kW-hour than electricity production from fossil fuels, due to large scale emission of methane from decaying organic material 3. Wind : converts mechanical energy of wind (can be considered also as solar energy) An industry growing at a pace of 30% per year and currently supplies about 1.3% of the global demand of energy 4. Geothermal : converts the thermal energy of Earth by injecting water into the hot underground and use the steam. 5. Hydrogen fusion : uses the energy released when atoms of hydrogen fuse (similar with the reactions releasing energy in the stars) However, the technological difficulties make this source unpractical for now Chapter 12-13: Solar and Other Energy Systems – Motivation
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Insolation • The energy delivered by sunlight seems to be the most immediate almost limitless source: however the efficiency of the respective systems depend on certain factors that will sometime make them unsuitable • The most obvious factor is the local insolation : the rate at which solar radiation falls per area of solid ground • The insolation depends on: the time of day, the time of the year , and the location • As a consequence of these factors, we see that the use of solar energy for heating purposes must be backed in most of the cases by other systems Ex : It’s easy to see how at the time of largest energy need – during wintertime – the insolation is at its minimum. Also, the largest insolation occurs in regions that do not need so much heating, like El Paso TX as opposed to Columbus OH. 12.2
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2012 for the course PHYSICS phy 121 taught by Professor Mario during the Fall '11 term at Miami University.

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L12 - Chapter 12-13 Solar and Other Energy Systems...

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