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Imagining Beyond The Year 2012: Designing, Co-creating, and Holding A Collective Vision of Positive Future Possibilities.


    Here Comes the Sun

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    Join date : 2009-06-21
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    Here Comes the Sun

    Post  Admin on Tue Jun 30, 2009 2:49 am

    Taken from the March 7, 2008 issue of The Week magazine page 22.

    "Environmentalists have been touting solar energy for years, but engineering problems have limited its usefulness, and solar now provides only 1 percent of the world's energy. But widely respected futurist and inventor Ray Kurzweil says that's about to change. This isn't the first time that Kurzweil has made a bold prediction: He foretold the explosive growth of the Internet, the common availability of wireless access, and the fall of the Soviet Union. In the next five years [2013], Kurzweil now predicts, nano-engineered materials currently being developed will transform solar energy into a viable alternative to oil and other fossil fuels. The new nano-materials will make solar panels light, inexpensive, and, most of all, far more efficient at converting sunlight into electricity. The sunlight falling on Earth offers 10,000 times the amount of energy that humankind consumes every year, so Kurzweil says that once we perfect solar power, we'll be energy-rich, able to power our homes and make hydrogen fuel cells for our cars. Kurzweil tells LiveScience.com that the engineering problems involved in solar energy are similar to those in computer technology, in which advances have proceeded at an ever-accelerating rate of speed. 'I'm confident that we are not that far away from a tipping point where energy from solar will be [economically] competitive with fossil fuels,' he says. In two decades, he says, solar will produce most of the energy we need."


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    Admin
    Admin

    Posts : 231
    Join date : 2009-06-21
    Location : Bainbridge Island Washington

    Here Comes the Sun

    Post  Admin on Sun Aug 01, 2010 6:36 pm

    Source: August 22-29, 2008 issues of The Week magazine, page 22:

    Scientists at the Massachusettes Institute of Technology have come up with a novel technique that makes solar a more feasible energy option, says Forbes. Until now, solar panels had one major flaw: Though they could collect plenty of energy when the sun was shining, they couldn't store it, making energy flow unavailable during the night and on cloudy days. But scientists at MIT realized they could imitate nature's process of photosynthesis, which enables green plants to gather and store energy from the sun. They developed a chemical process that captures the sun's energy by "splitting water": separating it into its gaseous hydrogen and oxygen components. The process, known as electrolysis, allows solar systems to store abundant clean energy in fuel cells when the sun is out; those cells can then be used to power a house or charge an electric car even during the night. "This is the nirvana of what we've been talking about for years," says study author Daniel Nocera. "Solar power has always been a limited, far-off solution. Now we can seriously think about solar power as unlimited and soon."

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