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(Phys Org2)   Solar cone is a current hit, putting a new spin on power generation   (phys.org) divider line 66
    More: Spiffy, electricity, cell phones, power generation, V3Solar, clothes dryer, power pole, metal spinning, solar energy  
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6547 clicks; posted to Geek » on 07 Oct 2012 at 7:42 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-10-07 12:36:17 AM
i want some. can i buy them?
 
2012-10-07 07:57:13 AM
So they are using MORE cells, less often, for shorter periods of time? Even if they are more efficient, how much per KWh does this thing cost?

Oh, and 20 times the electricity? I though solar cells broke the 6% efficiency barrier years ago. Either I misunderstand that, (possible), or the reporter is misstating something.
 
2012-10-07 08:09:44 AM
Seems inconvenient. As most solar panels are mounted to the roof, it would take quite a bit of wire and plugs run up to the roof to plug the motors in. I don't see this taking off, unless you could daisy chain the motors together and thus on one power line is necessary.
 
2012-10-07 08:26:03 AM

tomWright: So they are using MORE cells, less often, for shorter periods of time? Even if they are more efficient, how much per KWh does this thing cost?

Oh, and 20 times the electricity? I though solar cells broke the 6% efficiency barrier years ago. Either I misunderstand that, (possible), or the reporter is misstating something.


What reporter? It's phys.org; much of their content consists of press releases pitching products that will create power at a billion percent efficiency, cure cancer yesterday, and give everyone a puppy.
 
2012-10-07 08:47:12 AM

TheSwizz: Seems inconvenient. As most solar panels are mounted to the roof, it would take quite a bit of wire and plugs run up to the roof to plug the motors in. I don't see this taking off, unless you could daisy chain the motors together and thus on one power line is necessary.


Not sure if serious. The motors are solar-powered.
 
2012-10-07 08:48:06 AM

tomWright: So they are using MORE cells, less often, for shorter periods of time? Even if they are more efficient, how much per KWh does this thing cost?

Oh, and 20 times the electricity? I though solar cells broke the 6% efficiency barrier years ago. Either I misunderstand that, (possible), or the reporter is misstating something.


The 20x claim isn't that the individual cell is more efficient but rather than they're able to channel more sunlight to the cell each day.
 
2012-10-07 08:50:03 AM
Increasing the efficiency of a cell by concentrating more light on it: +
Increasing the light concentration heats cell and decreases its base efficiency: -
Increasing the cell efficiency by cooling the cells: +
Drastically decreasing the overall efficiency (and performance/cost ratio) by adding a shipload more cells and rotating them into and out of the sun to give them a chance to cool: ---
 
2012-10-07 08:58:30 AM

RatOmeter: Increasing the efficiency of a cell by concentrating more light on it: +
Increasing the light concentration heats cell and decreases its base efficiency: -
Increasing the cell efficiency by cooling the cells: +
Drastically decreasing the overall efficiency (and performance/cost ratio) by adding a shipload more cells and rotating them into and out of the sun to give them a chance to cool: ---


They seem to be claiming that it's actually a combination of solar collector and PV. The 20x claim has nothing to do with power or energy produced, but irradiance on the PV. They claim a roughly 6% increase in energy efficiency on the PV due to the cooling mechanism (spinning).

At a glance, it would increase the base costs astronomically just in terms of cells/m^2. They'd just take up too much space.
 
2012-10-07 08:59:32 AM
Will they ever recover the energy expended to manufacture the device and all it's components? Sorry about the math.
 
2012-10-07 09:13:19 AM

Hardy-r-r: Will they ever recover the energy expended to manufacture the device and all it's components? Sorry about the math.


The next generation will be powered by the keystrokes of the extra apostrophes people put into ITS.
 
2012-10-07 09:29:28 AM

Hardy-r-r: Will they ever recover the energy expended to manufacture the device and all it's components? Sorry about the math.


Lessee, we'll be very conservative and estimate only 3 KWhr per day for generation, which means in a conservative 10-year lifespan a unit will generate 10.9 MWhrs. After some googling I found that it takes about 30 MWhrs to make an entire car of 3200 lbs. This thing doesn't look to be that heavy, or anywhere as complicated as a car, so I'd say it's looking pretty good that, yes, they will.
 
2012-10-07 09:53:25 AM

RatOmeter: Increasing the efficiency of a cell by concentrating more light on it: +
Increasing the light concentration heats cell and decreases its base efficiency: -
Increasing the cell efficiency by cooling the cells: +
Drastically decreasing the overall efficiency (and performance/cost ratio) by adding a shipload more cells and rotating them into and out of the sun to give them a chance to cool: ---


Using the spinning solar panel's output to power the spinning solar panel -
 
2012-10-07 10:04:18 AM

TheSwizz: Seems inconvenient. As most solar panels are mounted to the roof, it would take quite a bit of wire and plugs run up to the roof to plug the motors in. I don't see this taking off, unless you could daisy chain the motors together and thus on one power line is necessary.


Luckily, we've been doing stuff like that for a century or so, so I don't think there will be any problem.
 
2012-10-07 10:15:19 AM

adm_crunch: TheSwizz: Seems inconvenient. As most solar panels are mounted to the roof, it would take quite a bit of wire and plugs run up to the roof to plug the motors in. I don't see this taking off, unless you could daisy chain the motors together and thus on one power line is necessary.

Not sure if serious. The motors are solar-powered.


Not sure if serious. Power line OUT.
 
2012-10-07 10:44:36 AM
I prefer Solyndra's approach. FYI, the reason(s) they went out of business had little to nothing to do with their product.
 
2012-10-07 10:53:20 AM
What's so bad about flat plate crystalline and thin film tech? Already you could produce far more than you could use with most home's current roof space. If you have the money and space, get a 1 or 2 axis tracker. If you really, really wanna make a lot of juice and have the money, get a 2 axis tracker and CPV.

CSB: At my lab we have one of our 2-axis trackers loaded with 2 CPV mega modules that are rated (@ STC) for 2.3 kW apiece. We're pretty confident that with some rearranging we could fit 4 of these mega modules. Next to the 2-axis, we have 2 fixed rack test beds loaded with low end flat plate polycrystalline modules and we are seeing 5.5 kW @ solar noon. It's pretty cool. /csb
 
2012-10-07 11:55:28 AM

Just Another OC Homeless Guy: Not sure if serious. Power line OUT.


I believe that present-day roof-mounted solar cells use a power line out already, so NBD.
 
2012-10-07 11:56:19 AM
119% BS
 
2012-10-07 12:30:33 PM

RatOmeter: Increasing the efficiency of a cell by concentrating more light on it: +
Increasing the light concentration heats cell and decreases its base efficiency: -
Increasing the cell efficiency by cooling the cells: +
Drastically decreasing the overall efficiency (and performance/cost ratio) by adding a shipload more cells and rotating them into and out of the sun to give them a chance to cool: ---


G-d gave this to plants 500 million years ago.

cytoplasmic streaming
 
2012-10-07 12:32:15 PM
It's an interesting idea, charge up the cells and then start hitting them with periodic bursts of focused, high intensity light to get periodict bursts of energy from the device while simultaneously keeping the individual cells cooler. Installs on a flat roof with a smaller footprint so you can get more cells facing the sun and at a more constant incident angle than flat panels. I'm not a fan of moving parts but it would be interesting to see how well prototypes do as well as how low they can get the production costs.
 
2012-10-07 12:46:38 PM

RatOmeter: Drastically decreasing the overall efficiency (and performance/cost ratio) by adding a shipload more cells and rotating them into and out of the sun to give them a chance to cool:


I'm just doing the comparison in my head but the cone doesn't necessarily require a larger number of cells and its geometry presents a more uniform incident angle of sunlight over the course of a day than a flat panel. It's true that not all cells are getting sunlight at the same time unless the sun is at it's zenith and you're near the equator but flat panels aren't an ideal geometry unless you rotate them to face the sun and even then you have the reduction in efficiency due to heating to contend with.

Solyndra's panels of cylindrical cells might present some advantage in that they don't have moving parts but the V3 cone design can use existing flat cells to cover the cone rather than have to develop new manufacturing processes for cylindrical cells.
 
2012-10-07 12:47:44 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: It's an interesting idea, charge up the cells and then start hitting them with periodic bursts of focused, high intensity light to get periodict bursts of energy from the device while simultaneously keeping the individual cells cooler. Installs on a flat roof with a smaller footprint so you can get more cells facing the sun and at a more constant incident angle than flat panels. I'm not a fan of moving parts but it would be interesting to see how well prototypes do as well as how low they can get the production costs.


combine the plastic backings with recycling antioxidants and the cells repair themselves from uv damage during the dark cycle. quercetin, rutin, anthocyanins, hindered amine light stabilizers, etc.
 
2012-10-07 12:48:36 PM
It's not a terrible idea if it works but surely there is a better way to pulse the radiance than spinning the whole unit.
 
2012-10-07 12:51:57 PM

Terrified Asexual Forcemeat: It's not a terrible idea if it works but surely there is a better way to pulse the radiance than spinning the whole unit.


You could spin just atransparent outer shell but then you lose cooling by rotating the cells out of direct sunlight.
 
2012-10-07 02:01:32 PM

tomWright: So they are using MORE cells, less often, for shorter periods of time? Even if they are more efficient, how much per KWh does this thing cost?

Oh, and 20 times the electricity? I though solar cells broke the 6% efficiency barrier years ago. Either I misunderstand that, (possible), or the reporter is misstating something.


yes, you failed at reading
the cells are identical to regular flat panel cels.

20x comes from concentrating the light, plus rotating (which gives the cells time to cool off), plus rotating which presents a cool cell while the hot cell gets a chance to rest.

20x had NOTHING to do with cell efficiency.


on the other hand, the article does point out, that unless the price is less than 20x that of a conventional solar panel, the cost/MW will be higher.

One serious advantage which is claimed, is that you will be able to produce more energy using less acreage. THIS has huge advantages. If nothing else, individuals would be getting better results out of their roof tops.
 
2012-10-07 02:08:22 PM

Terrified Asexual Forcemeat: It's not a terrible idea if it works but surely there is a better way to pulse the radiance than spinning the whole unit.


yes no sort of
the benefit of rotation is that you get new cells, so in theory, you have maximum number of cells getting light at each time unit. you could create a system to shade or pulse the exposure to static cells, but then the cell would only be active for 1/nth of the time. the rotation is interesting in that it presents new, cool cells for work, while the old, hot cells get a chance to cool off.
 
2012-10-07 02:10:02 PM
PLUS, the rotation provides active cooling. Just covering the cell would only prevent the cell from receiving more light but not do anything to actively cool the cell.
 
2012-10-07 02:59:19 PM
...or you could produce a bunch of cheaper cells, put them in a simpler design, run it at "normal" efficiencies, and get a lot more kilowatts per dollar spent.

Economics lesson: the current cost of installed home photovoltaic solar systems isn't currently based on the cost of the cells: it's the cost of the installed system that's the issue. For home solar systems, total installation costs are currently much higher than the cost of the actual cells (putting the panels on the roof, running the power lines to the house, hooking up the inverters, the batteries, et cetera).

Making a more-expensive system that takes up about the same total area for about ten times the installed cost is stupid - which is why they handwave the cost issue.

You want to make a cost-effective home solar system? Make panels that are a convenient, easy to install 1:1 replacement for roofing shingles, and also add on a simple power management system that can tap into a home wiring and battery storage system with minimal installation cost.
 
2012-10-07 03:08:06 PM

cirby: You want to make a cost-effective home solar system? Make panels that are a convenient, easy to install 1:1 replacement for roofing shingles, and also add on a simple power management system that can tap into a home wiring and battery storage system with minimal installation cost.


LOL
in one place you say simple and in another you add batteries
LOLOLOLOL

WHY THE FARK would you add batteries??
Tie the power generation directly into the grid.
Force the power company to buy your surplus power back from you at 95% of what they charge you.
And forget about batteries.

THAT would be cheaper and simpler.

But did you also left out the inverter step and its cost.

but go on ... you are completely correct. something which costs more today will NEVER cost less tomorrow.
 
2012-10-07 03:18:31 PM

namatad: WHY THE FARK would you add batteries??


Because your solar array produces more power than you consume during the day and you'd like to make use of that power at night.

If you simply sell the power back to the power company and run off of utility power at night, you're losing money. You only sell power back to the utility at a small fraction of what you pay for it.

Also, the battery array would help shield you from power outages.

LOLOLOL, that's why the fark.
 
2012-10-07 03:45:11 PM
Sounds like someone thinks we all have rusty snakes.
If I had money to invest, I'd keep looking...
 
2012-10-07 03:46:02 PM

Honest Bender: Also, the battery array would help shield you from power outages.

LOLOLOL, that's why the fark.


ummmmm
cost of batteries >> than buying when the sun goes down, esp since you are selling your surplus.
outages?? ROFL
where do you live Iraq??
 
2012-10-07 03:47:29 PM
namatad:
Tie the power generation directly into the grid.
Force the power company to buy your surplus power back from you at 95% of what they charge you.
And forget about batteries.


Sorry, you win the "knows nothing about the thing you're supporting" award for the day.

When almost nobody has a solar generating system, you can buffer it in the larger grid. When about two or three percent of homes have active solar systems, you have to start buffering locally. That's why batteries. Get used to the idea: a lot of the power companies are starting to talk about requiring off-peak buyback capacity from newer solar installations.

By the way: 95%? Nope. The most generous buybacks start at less than half of the current electrical rate. So if you're paying 11 cents a kilowatt-hour, plan on getting about five cents per kilowatt on the power you sell to them. One article I read had the guy bragging about the $23 he'd sold back to the power company one month - but then he casually mentioned the $250/year increase in property taxes on the system. Oops.
 
2012-10-07 03:53:05 PM

cirby: By the way: 95%? Nope.


I know that the buyback rates are low. the point I was STATING is what the rate SHOULD be.
LOL. Yes, I know that it will never be that high, because the power companies often have defacto monopolies. (That is changing in some big cities.)

cirby: two or three percent of homes have active solar systems, you have to start buffering locally.


Really? That low? You would think that the peak demand during the day, would more than offset a huge percentage of the houses having solar.

Local buffering is hugely inefficient and costly. (YES, local buffering can help in short term outages, but nowhere near enough for the "normal" long term outages.)

Central buffering would be massively more efficient, but wont be built until the amount of "home" solar greatly exceeds 5% of homes.

But you are right. I dont know anything. LOL
 
2012-10-07 03:55:31 PM

TheSwizz: Seems inconvenient. As most solar panels are mounted to the roof, it would take quite a bit of wire and plugs run up to the roof to plug the motors in. I don't see this taking off, unless you could daisy chain the motors together and thus on one power line is necessary.


ROFL
did you not read the article? the energy required to spin would directly from the solar cells. LOL
 
2012-10-07 04:01:37 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Hardy-r-r: Will they ever recover the energy expended to manufacture the device and all it's components? Sorry about the math.

The next generation will be powered by the keystrokes of the extra apostrophes people put into ITS.


LOL
and if you could never recover the energy required to manufacture, then you would never be able to sell the product.

The "energy" would be more properly defined as the "cost" to manufacture: materials, people, energy, what not. If that cost has a much greater expense/break even point, it is cheaper to just buy energy directly from the current producers. Early adopters often use new tech JUST to say that they are using new tech, not for a cost savings.

Real saving will kick in when all new houses come solar ready or solar pre-installed.

Some of the new window solar coatings are interesting. At what point do we just paint/cover all external surfaces? Efficiency is less important if cost and area covered is large enough.
 
2012-10-07 04:05:23 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: It's an interesting idea, charge up the cells and then start hitting them with periodic bursts of focused, high intensity light to get periodict bursts of energy from the device while simultaneously keeping the individual cells cooler. Installs on a flat roof with a smaller footprint so you can get more cells facing the sun and at a more constant incident angle than flat panels. I'm not a fan of moving parts but it would be interesting to see how well prototypes do as well as how low they can get the production costs.


While moving parts suck, the current fixed panels have their own short comings.
What is interesting is the ideas. Fixed panels + concentraters + small fans to cool the cells. damn, moving parts again.

Still, interesting enhancements, esp useful in the short term in places which might need higher density production.

plus, might this shape be more resistant to wind damage than flat panels ??
 
2012-10-07 04:05:48 PM

namatad: cost of batteries >> than buying when the sun goes down, esp since you are selling your surplus.


I'd love to see some numbers on that.

outages?? ROFL
where do you live Iraq??


I live in the real world. Maybe you should pull your head out of your ass and have a look around occasionally.
 
2012-10-07 04:48:13 PM
So who is Solar Cone and why are they singing for the New Power Generation?
 
2012-10-07 05:18:12 PM
Anyone else notice the high frequency of internet solar experts? It seems a bit off.
 
2012-10-07 05:34:10 PM

Honest Bender: outages?? ROFL
where do you live Iraq??

I live in the real world. Maybe you should pull your head out of your ass and have a look around occasionally.


so you really think the real world is enough batteries to deal with a 2 week outage???
5-10 hour outage, MAYBE ... but two weeks??? HAHAHAHAHAH
that is why adults buy diesel generators

but go ahead thinking "batteries"
 
2012-10-07 05:38:15 PM

namatad: 5-10 hour outage, MAYBE ... but two weeks??? HAHAHAHAHAH


If I lived in an area where we had power outages that lasted longer than a few hours then you might have a point. Or if I made any mention of the length of power outages in my previous post at all... which I didn't. Go be jerk somewhere else.
 
2012-10-07 05:41:30 PM

Monkeyhouse Zendo: Solyndra's panels of cylindrical cells might present some advantage in that they don't have moving parts but the V3 cone design can use existing flat cells to cover the cone rather than have to develop new manufacturing processes for cylindrical cells.


If you're in the field (have the testing equipment and so on) you can get some Solyndra tubes to try out. There are millions of tubes left in warehouses that couldn't be liquidated in the bankruptcy, and it's possible to get some.

For instance, there's an art project ("Sol Grotto") at the UC Berkeley Arboretum that uses Solyndra tubes, and they're selling some of the tubes at the gift shop.

If you want an entire palette of tubes, they are available... Not through the Botanical Gardens, of course, but it is possible.
 
2012-10-07 06:07:22 PM
i.ytimg.com

Will never give up slr pnls!!

Dracolich: Anyone else notice the high frequency of internet solar experts? It seems a bit off.


About the same rate as economists, lawyers, and quantum physicists.
 
2012-10-07 06:59:28 PM

namatad:
Force the power company to buy your surplus power back from you at 95% of what they charge you.


Yes, the five or six kWh a day you have in surplus is going to give you such leverage that you'll be able to force the power company to buy them at 95% of their cost. Or, more likely, they're going to offer you like $0.02 a kWh and you'll be happy to take that.
 
2012-10-07 08:02:34 PM

Dracolich: Anyone else notice the high frequency of internet solar experts? It seems a bit off.


I'm not sure I can legitimately claim to be an "expert" in anything. Even though I've had a great deal of experience and job titles in at least a couple of technical areas, I know there's always *someone* who knows more than me in those fields and others.

With that said, I've been studying the state of art of harnessing PV, passive solar and wind resources since around 1990. It's a topic of great interest to me. Also having been immersed in engineering disciplines for the last 25 years or so, efficiency in systems in general has become a personal interest/peeve/bugaboo/thorn for me. The system as described in TFA screams inefficiency; unless the article missed some critical detail, its efficiency sucks in just about every important measure.
 
2012-10-07 08:12:07 PM
I know Fark isn't really the place to ask questions about solar power, but it seems like there are some knowledgeable (know it all?) people here.

A few of you are talking about how little the electric company pays for electricity you generate. I was under the impression that you don't really "sell" back power to the electric company, but that your meter runs backwards during the day while your PV system is generating power. So you don't make money, but you save the money you would normally pay for electricity. Which is the same as making money. Is that not how it works?
 
2012-10-07 08:34:42 PM

Professor Science: tomWright: So they are using MORE cells, less often, for shorter periods of time? Even if they are more efficient, how much per KWh does this thing cost?

Oh, and 20 times the electricity? I though solar cells broke the 6% efficiency barrier years ago. Either I misunderstand that, (possible), or the reporter is misstating something.

What reporter? It's phys.org; much of their content consists of press releases pitching products that will create power at a billion percent efficiency, cure cancer yesterday, and give everyone a puppy.


I thought it read a bit like an advertorial.
 
2012-10-07 09:03:47 PM
Solar energy is the new climate change. It's all "you're an ASSHOLE for thinking that."
 
2012-10-07 10:23:37 PM
If the science behind this concept is plausible.....I say wholly shiat we have found a remarkable way to bring solar into the 21st century. I am a critic of PV cells, but the concent behind this (if profitably manufacturable in reality) can make me rethink my criticisms.
 
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