Comments:


meganmay     Wed, Mar 19, 2008  Permanent link
Interesting, i'd be curious to know whether you can make that work. lemme know what happens.
     Wed, Mar 19, 2008  Permanent link
Laser is an acronym for "Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation", so I don't really think that it's a laser there, but I can't believe nobody thought about making a turbine through heating water by mirrors... I mean, I've seen a parabolic mirror setup cook eggs when I was a little kid at some earth day thing, and I've cooked plenty of things during that period of my life with a magnifying glass (sorry ants, RIP)... hmm, this is a really cool idea you have here. I hope it goes somewhere. Go print that off and post it somewhere in some engineering department at your local university and see what happens, I guess?
lapisdecor     Thu, Mar 20, 2008  Permanent link
dmitrib: the idea was using a solar laser to increase speed of water heating. A laser is but a small tube made with mirrors with some sort of gas on the inside were photons are stimulated, usually by by electric power passing inside, but if we use a solar beam, probably they would too, since you have the gas and the mirrors, and the "ruby", it might be possible to do a solar laser, I think.

The steam part is not really necessary, since you could use air instead of water (probably would heat up faster) and under pressure would move the turbine. But with water, probably its easier to do a closed system (steam could return as water to the deposit).
bpwnes     Thu, Mar 27, 2008  Permanent link
Free energy has a little problem with it—The Law of Conservation of Energy. Anyone who has taken Physics knows there is no such thing as "free energy."

The amount of solar energy you would have to take in would be immense for that to actually be productive. If you don't already know how solar power works, click here.

I believe that the best source of energy is nuclear power. I don't see any problem with sending the spent radioactive material out into deep space.
sjef     Thu, Mar 27, 2008  Permanent link
That's what I always thought. Why aren't we just shooting that shit into the sun?


For solar energy to work there's 2 schemes I like:
1) Beaming it down from space
2) Turn the North African desert into a stupid large solar farm
As for the feasibility, well... yeah.

I always disliked traditional wind farms (noisy / eyesore / inefficient / etc) but the Maglev Wind Turbine looks like a pretty sweet solution to the energy production problem for the interim.
     Fri, Mar 28, 2008  Permanent link
2) Turn the North African desert into a stupid large solar farm

Yes, that's a great idea that I've considered a lot, except for three things that might get in the way... albedo, maintenance, and politics. What would all that black do to the atmosphere's temperature+generated wind and all that, how do you shield these from the sand and keep it all running properly without any fires due to things getting jammed with sand etc, and how do you shield them from the unfortunate human turmoil out there?

I bet a better place to deploy something like this would be less sandy/windy deserts, like the playas in america.
lapisdecor     Fri, Mar 28, 2008  Permanent link
@bpwnes: I think you are missing the laser part. My plan was not to heat water using the sun, but rather use a laser wich feeds on the sun light to do it. I don't know efficiency levels for water heating from a laser, but, i guess if I can use an AA battery to power the laser on my mp3 CD player, I would probably need a lot less energy to feed such a laser. Nevertheless, I'm not a laser expert, nor a water boiling expert.

I believe solar energy could even be used this way to produce vibration, since the laser produces an intermittent beam, and therefore some kind of microwave, wich could heat the water.

But, as I said, you could simply avoid the water part, since what moves the turbines is the mechanical pressure from steam. Probably it would take less time to heat air, or you could use the laser to produce compressed air.

Kai     Fri, Mar 28, 2008  Permanent link
Interesting idea but i would suggest that you use a liquid that has boiling point thats closer to room temperature (ethanol? need more research on this), the latent heat of vaporisation would even help cool it down. Why cool it down? Heat transfer occurs from a place with higher temperature to a place with lower temperature.This would decrease energy loss to the surroundings and increase overall efficiency .

How do you define free energy? If its in terms of money, it is possible as solar energy is effectively free! But for that free energy to be of any use, the cost of the equipment needed would heavily outweigh the cost of the energy it can produce.( we're talking lenses that can produce lasers here!) Unless it can run of decades without breaking down, it sure as hell is long time investment.

But if free energy means a system with an energy efficiency of more then 100% ( meaning energy input is less that output) it is impossible, as bpwnes has already pointed out with the law of conservation of energy.

While systems with more then 100% efficiency (as they claim) do exist, it is usually the case of bad calculations and failure to include factors such as heat gained from surroundings in the calculations. Or the energy might come from somewhere current science has yet to be able to prove or explain (another dimension?) .
sjef     Fri, Mar 28, 2008  Permanent link
dimitridb - The reasons you mention are basically why it probably won't happen.
I just thought it would look really cool from space, this covered in solar panels.
pic o the desert
I know it wouldn't be completely covered, but it looks awesome in my imagination anyway.
It would be expensive too, the proposed £5bn is a bit steep when one of those maglev turbines is only $53 million.

Funnily enough though the system proposed is almost exactly what lapisdecor outlined above, except without the laser. (not that strapping lasers on stuff is a bad thing...)
From the original article in the Guardian:
"A CSP station consists of banks of several hundred giant mirrors that cover large areas of land, around a square kilometre. Each mirror's position can be carefully controlled to focus the sun's rays onto a central metal pillar that is filled with water."
"Once the sun's rays are focused on the pillar, temperatures inside start to soar to 800C. The water inside the pillar is vaporised into superhot steam which is channelled off and used to drive turbines which in turn generate electricity."

The whole "Africas desert bringing Europe power" idea is a bit off as well. Africas desert bringing Africa some power would be nice for a change.
bpwnes     Sun, Apr 6, 2008  Permanent link
@lapisdecor: In layman's terms, the Law of Conservation of Energy means the amount if energy that goes in, is the amount of energy that comes out. Nothing is generated or lost, just converted (be it mechanical energy, heat, sound, etc.). It doesn't matter what you use in between.

Sorry to be the one to burst your bubble, but don't you think someone would have figured it out already if it was that simple?

After-thought: If we ever find a way to breach dimensions, "free" energy will probably be possible, but not in our solitary dimension.

Here's a good question: If we turned Northern Africa (or some other large land mass) into a mirror, would that fix global warming? What would that do to the weather?
lapisdecor     Sun, Apr 6, 2008  Permanent link
@bpwnes: I dont quite understand your comment. We are not talking about a limited power source. The energy of the sun is enough to heat a planet like earth. You seem to fear the mirror effect on weather but on the other hand you think conservation of energy wont let a laser boil water?
bpwnes     Sun, Apr 6, 2008  Permanent link
I don't doubt a laser could boil water. I'm just saying it would take a great amount of solar energy to accomplish this in a productive manner. If you took in the same amount of energy as a solar power plant and assuming no energy is lost, you would result in the same amount of power produced by the solar power plant. It is just simple physical law.

The clincher is how efficient it is. The world's most efficient internal combustion engines are only about 30% efficient (going off memory, so don't quote me on that). In other words, of all the energy that goes in, only 30% of it is usable for work. The other 70% is lost to heat, sound, etc.If you invent an incredibly efficient engine, you would probably become very wealthy. As I understand it, inefficiency is mainly due to heat loss. Therefore, if you make the engine out of say, ceramics, you would have a far more efficient engine, as it would operate at much higher temperatures.

As for the mirror, the temperate climate of our planet is entirely from sunlight. Sunlight cannot heat the air directly, it heats the ground and water, which in turn heats the air, which causes wind and weather. This causes a problem with the polar ice caps melting, as they reflect a great deal of sunlight. If one were to calculate how much sunlight we needed to deflect in order to cool the earth, then we would have grounds for a solution to global warming.

I seem to be hitting lots of bases here and I, in no way, am trying to rain on your parade or prove you wrong. I'm just trying to provide logical input and I have nothing against you personally. I applaud you for promoting your ideas and standing by them. Together we can work for a better tomorrow and brighter future!
lapisdecor     Mon, Apr 21, 2008  Permanent link
2 links regarding this issue:

http://www.sce.com/nrc/videos/solarevent/index.html

and

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_Ctw3zA2F4 
lapisdecor     Wed, Jul 23, 2008  Permanent link
EU proposes Sahara desert solar energy to fill all electricity needs of Europe

According to the news in the Guardian, a £37bn plan to power EU with the Saharan sun

see it here:
 http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jul/23/solarpower.windpower1 
kizilbiyik     Tue, Jul 29, 2008  Permanent link
Apparently you can't make a laser from sunlight because it contains all frequencies and you make a laser by a certain frequency light and trap it between two mirrors. I assume the distance between the mirrors is critical here. However there is no point in making a laser in what you propose, furthermore there are many solar power plants that work on that idea of creating steam to turn turbines plus the solar towers turn turbines by convection.
lapisdecor     Fri, Mar 27, 2009  Permanent link
@kizilbiyik: You can use a filter to filter frequencies.
gamma     Thu, Apr 2, 2009  Permanent link
Solar panels take long production time, for example 50 years. It would be suitable to make as few steps as possible for conversion or transport in any system... However,
let us ask the forbidden question. If hawks carrying hard disks can outperform networks, few satellites could bring antimatter from vicinity of Sun. (These two things may be unrelated.)
lapisdecor     Mon, Nov 30, 2009  Permanent link
@gamma, quoting the 5th element: "time is not important, only life is important".