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Re: OT: sponge-burning with solar-powered microwave ovens [was:: A Republican!!!!!! (was Re: OT: sponge burning!)]

On 26 Feb, Kent West wrote:
> ...Stephen wrote:
> Actually, I was being sarcastic about trusting press-releases, and by
> extension, the time involved for solar to become practical.
> As far as solar ever becoming practical, yes, I think it will happen,
> some day. The amount of power in solar radiation reaching the surface
> of the Earth is way more than adequate for our (current, everyday)
> power needs, if we just knew how to harness it. I suspect green plants
> will show us the way, just as other designs (yes, I said the "D" word)
> in nature have taught us new tricks, but it may be something totally
> different, such as solar mirrors or collectors in orbit, etc. I just
> don't know if we'll learn how to harness the solar power in three
> years or in three-thousand years. I suspect we're closer to the three
> than the three-thousand, partially based on those press-releases
> (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/01/0114_050114_solarplastic.html,
> http://www.technewsworld.com/story/40971.html, etc), which I'm fully
> aware should be taken with more than a smidgen of salt.

     There has been another significant advance in solar technology
in the past year.  One of the limitations of solar cell efficiency has
been that only one photoelectron could be generated per photon absorbed.
There are now materials which can generate several photoelectrons per
photon, which will lead to significantly more efficient solar cells.
While commercialization will probably take more that 3 years, it will
not be decades away.


|   Christopher Judd, Ph. D.                                           |
|   Research Scientist III                                             |
|   NYS Dept. of Health                           judd@wadsworth.org   | 
|   Wadsworth Center - ESP                                             |
|   P. O. Box 509                                    518 486-7829      |
|   Albany, NY 12201-0509                                              |

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