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Re: East Coast outage?
From: Iljitsch van Beijnum <iljitsch () muada com>
Date: Sun, 17 Aug 2003 23:11:18 +0200

On zondag, aug 17, 2003, at 20:57 Europe/Amsterdam, hackerwacker () tarpit cybermesa com wrote:

The calculations I have seen of hydrogen produced vs watts in indicate
solar could supply enough hydrogen to more than satisfy
the requirements of a residential user.

Sure, a regular house has enough surface area to generate this electricity, but not appartment buildings or businesses. But why have the hydrogen in the middle? Batteries aren't as explosive. Also, it seems that the large amount of hydrogen that will leak out (remember, tinyiest molecules ever, but this is well established for other gasses as well) don't do the environment much good.

I don't think wholesale replacement of our current power systems is an attainable goal in our lifetime. (And it will happen automatically anyway as oil starts running out and gets so expensive that people who just want to burn it can't afford it anymore.) However, it is still a very good idea to add more solar energy to the mix, both on the large and the small ends of the scale.

Small: a few solar panels (with batteries) will give you at least _some_ power when the utility power is out. Being able to recharge your cell phone, run a light, a laptop and an ADSL or cable modem is much, much better than nothing.

Large: demand for power peaks when it's hot, but generating capacity is often much lower under these circumstances because river water gets much warmer so power plants that need this water for cooling can't run at full capacity. (We could be facing rolling blackouts because of this soon in Europe.) Guess what: solar panels don't need cooling and their output is highest when the weather is hot = lots of sunshine.

So, put them on your roof. Lots of unused space. No need to have huge
expanses for centralized generation. I've read of Solar Cells as building
materials, using the Cells as the shell of the house.

There has recently been a breakthrough that makes it possible to convert more of the sun's spectrum into electricity. This could potentially double the efficiency of solar cells in the future, then maybe they'll be more cost efficient.

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