Solar Power: The real energy king of the Future?

The United States recently passed the largest climate bill in history, with a size of 390 billion dollars. Although the exact size of the bill is considerably smaller than the trillion dollars envisaged by US President Joe Biden when he took office, it will undoubtedly be a historic climate bill. Passage and implementation of the bill could help cut US greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030, already close to Mr Biden's 50 per cent pledge.

As we all understand, man differs from animals not only in the use of tools, but also in the use of energy. For a long time, the concept of energy crisis has been false. Oil and fossil fuels are running out. However, the development of modern energy resources, especially unconventional oil and gas resources, has made the contemporary energy crisis a false proposition. Here's the h1z2z2-k solar cable.

Mathias Dpfner, CEO of Axel Springer, the parent company of Business Insider magazine, naturally broiled the subject of energy during an in-depth conversation with Musk at Tesla's factory in Fremont, California. According to Musk, the best source of energy today is nuclear, while solar is the future.

Immediately after the United Kingdom, South Korean President Yoon Seok-yol issued a declaration on the revival of nuclear power. He even criticized former President Moon Jae-in for being "stupid for five years." He made no hesitation in his decision to scrap the former Moon Jae-in administration's nuclear de-nuclearization policy and expressed his position to resume the construction of the No. 3 and No. 4 nuclear power plants of the Shinhanul Nuclear Power Plant as soon as possible. And it has ambitions to export 10 nuclear power plants by 2030!

​Different countries, such as Germany, France, Japan and even China's Taiwan, have also declared their determination to promote nuclear power, which can not only solve the current peak energy prices, but also solve the energy problem of high-tech development. By the way, the chip battle of the future, in addition to technology and so on, will also be a power battle...

The issue of controlled fusion has already been discussed in the previous article, "Controlled Fusion: Future Energy Stars", so this article focuses on the future of the king of energy - solar energy.

The first thing to recognize is that the sun is not only an inexhaustible source of human energy, but also the source of nearly all the energy on our planet. The sun's energy comes from nuclear fusion inside the sun, which contains a huge amount of energy and continuously radiates outward.

According to rough estimates, the total energy flow from the sun to the universe in all directions is 4×10^26 J/s. Among them, the sun transmits light and heat to the earth, up to 25 billion calorimetric calories per minute (2.5×10^18 cal/min), converted into coal energy, roughly equivalent to the energy produced by burning 6.67 million tons per second; ​if calculated 365 days a year, the sun radiates to the surface of the Earth's energy is equivalent to all the energy available to mankind in the same year, tens of thousands of times. In addition to the huge energy, the very crucial thing is the long-term nature of solar energy. At the current rate of nuclear energy produced by the sun, hydrogen reserves are estimated to last for tens of billions of years, making solar energy an inexhaustible source of energy for the Earth, and especially for humans.

Today, the three most widely used solar technologies are photovoltaic (PV) devices, such as solar panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity via semiconductors; ​concentrated solar power (CSP) plants, which use mirrors to focus sunlight and generate sufficient heat to power a steam turbine or engine to generate electricity; ​and solar heating and cooling (SHC) systems, which use the sun's heat to provide hot or cool water instead of required electricity or natural gas.

In particular, solar energy is environmentally friendly.

Unlike energy from burning coal, solar power produces no greenhouse gases that cause global warming and is one of the cleanest sources of energy to date, a feature that is highly valuable in today's increasingly polluted environment.

A recent study by the U.S. Department of Energy predicts that solar energy will provide 40% of the nation's electricity by 2035 and 45% by 2050. In launching the 2021 Solar Futures Study on September 8, Jennifer M. Granholm, Secretary of Energy, said: "This study shows that solar, the cheapest and fastest growing source of clean energy, could provide sufficient electricity to power all U.S. homes by 2035 and employ up to 1.5 million people in the process."

With the US committed to cutting carbon emissions by 50-52 percent by 2030, decarbonising electricity by 2035 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050, these studies pave the way for bold action at the state and federal levels.

As a matter of fact, China is also vigorously developing solar energy. Take photovoltaic power generation as an example. After years of rapid development, China's photovoltaic industry experienced a trough in 2018. But at the same time, it also accelerated the "reshuffle" of middle and upstream enterprises, eliminated backward production capacity, promoted enterprises to increase investment in technological innovation, accelerated the complete withdrawal of photovoltaic subsidies from the market, and promoted the arrival of China's photovoltaic affordable Internet era earlier. Regardless of the external environment, as more and more researchers are engaged in the research and development of various types of solar cells, China has made significant progress in photovoltaic materials, devices and applications. It is believed that the solar industry in the future will certainly develop and expand further.

There are, of course, two major drawbacks, at least for now, to solar power, which would have replaced fossil fuels long ago:

The first is dispersion. Although the total amount of solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface is large, the energy flux is extremely low, meaning that the Earth receives fewer solar energy per unit area. This means that in the use of solar energy, if you want to achieve a certain conversion power, you need a large area of collection and conversion equipment, the system cost is great;

​second, solar energy is unstable. Due to the restriction of solar energy by natural conditions such as day and night, season, geographical latitude and altitude, as well as the influence of random weather factors such as sunny, cloudy, cloud and rain, the solar radiation energy reaching a certain ground is highly unstable, which increases the difficulty of large-scale application of solar energy.

Elon Musk has also mentioned: in the long run, most of the energy of human civilization will come from solar energy, but this will require the use of batteries to store energy, because the sun only shines during the day, and occasionally it will be cloudy, so you need solar cells, and there are a lot of technical problems to be solved in the future. But in the long-term, solar energy will be the primary means of powering civilization.

But even if we were able to absorb all the energy the sun radiates to the Earth, what would happen in a few hundred years if energy demand reached that limit? Dyson Ball is trying to solve that problem.

In 1959, Freeman Dyson, a British-American theoretical physicist who served as Einstein's deputy, argued that any technological civilization's demand for energy was "insatiable" and growing. If human civilization can continue long enough, one day its demand for energy will inevitably swell to the point where it uses "all" the energy output of its parent star, such as the Sun.

Because the vast majority of the total energy radiated by the sun is wasted in the vast expanse of space, how much of it can the earth get from the sun's natural irradiation? Dyson has estimated it, and it's about one in a billion.

In other words, the total amount of energy the Earth gets from the sun's natural rays, although about ten thousand times the Earth's current global energy consumption, is only about one billionth of the sun's total radiation energy. The idea of the Dyson sphere is to get the Earth, the tiny bean, out of this billionth of the energy that the sun radiates, as much as possible.

In a short article published in the journal Science in 1960, Dyson proposed the idea of a Dyson sphere: a sufficiently advanced planetary civilization should be able to build a spherical structure enclosing itself and its star (the Sun), so that a large portion of the sun's radiating energy could be captured for the civilization's use. This imaginary spherical structure has since been called a Dyson sphere.

Dyson also believes that such structures are the logical inevitability of a long-term, energy-hungry civilization in the universe. Although more than 60 years have passed since the Dyson Sphere was conceived, its implementation (if ever) must be in the extremely distant future. And numerous of the great technologies invented by human beings, is not produced from the continuous imagination?

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