It would take billions of years before the sun finally fizzles out and runs out of juice to light up the entire solar system. Before that happens, will we have used up all the energy and light the sun can deliver? We believe we won't because the sun is a truly limitless source of light energy.
Decades ago, scientists and inventors have proven the existence of photovoltaic energy that comes from the sun.
Photovoltaic light is an easily-understandable concept. It's the process of converting light into electricity using solar cells. They capture the energy from sunlight and use it to create a charge that can run an electric current, similar to the battery in your car. The amount of power generated depends on how much solar radiation is available at any given time.
The technology converts light into electricity using semiconductors. Photovoltaic cells are made up of special materials that are able to absorb light, which creates an electric field. The current is then passed through a circuit to create power.
Sunshine is one of the six limitless sources of energy that Harvard Business Review had listed in their article. Know more about the other five in this short post.
1. High Winds
Conventional wind turbines stop when the wind dies. Turbine-bearing balloons or rotors could intercept powerful, reliable winds 1,000 to 15,000 feet up.
Ottawa-based Magenn Power expects to ship the world’s first commercial high-altitude turbine—a 60-foot-diameter helium-filled blimp—by 2010.
There’s potentially enough high-altitude wind energy to power the planet 100 times over. Whether technology hurdles can be overcome and the energy can be economically exploited remain to be seen.
2. Green Crude
Biofuels made from plant oils require multistep harvesting and processing. Genetically engineered algae could streamline production by continuously secreting oil to be refined into transport fuel.
Synthetic Genomics, led by human-genome entrepreneur J. Craig Venter, and Sapphire Energy, backed by Bill Gates, are engineering algae to produce a “biocrude” precursor to gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel.
Algae fuel exists but can’t yet be economically produced. Still, scores of companies, including aerospace firms and oil majors, are investing heavily. The U.S. government earmarked $50 million for algae-fuel work this year.
3. Next Wave
Wave-motion energy can be captured to run electrical generators.
At least three dozen companies are developing wave-energy technologies. Scotland’s Pelamis Wave Power makes the device that drives the world’s first commercial wave farm, commissioned in 2008 off the coast of Portugal. Each 13-foot-diameter machine can supply enough electricity to power 500 homes.
Though wave power isn’t yet competitive, a Greentech Media/Prometheus Institute analysis put the market for ocean power of all types at $500 million annually in five years, growing 100-fold to a gigawatt of capacity.
4. Star Power
Nuclear fusion—the atomic reaction that powers stars—could be used to generate clean energy.
In 2010, the U.S. National Ignition Facility will focus 192 lasers on a tiny hydrogen-filled capsule to ignite a fusion reaction expected to yield more energy than it consumes—a critical first on the road to fusion power.
Scientists have pursued this goal for 50 years; the U.S. government alone has spent more than $20 billion on fusion research. Even so, the first experiments using fusion as a power source may be at least 15 years off. (Continued)
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