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(BBC-US)   Once you harness the power of the Sun, you can now go anywhere in the world   (bbc.com) divider line 30
    More: Interesting, solar impulse, energy density, solar energy, clean air laws, logical possibility  
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3020 clicks; posted to Geek » on 13 Sep 2013 at 12:37 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



30 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest
 
2013-09-12 11:59:40 PM  
Or I can just go to zombo.com. You can do anything there.
 
2013-09-13 12:32:01 AM  
Interesting, but not too practical in itself

It needs a secondary form of power generation due to weather conditions being fragile.
 
2013-09-13 12:51:25 AM  
. . . v e r y  s l o w l y .
 
2013-09-13 01:00:57 AM  
So long as it's west of where you are.
 
2013-09-13 01:20:37 AM  
photosynthesis -> algae -> lots of time -> kerosene + turbofan

Works for me.
 
2013-09-13 01:21:02 AM  
Well since your legs are powered by the sun, albeit indirectly, of course that's true.
 
2013-09-13 01:21:55 AM  
I would like to be the first person to welcome subby to the year 2013. It must have been quite a journey from the year 1972!
 
2013-09-13 02:38:36 AM  
I would think once we harness the power of the sun, like with a Dyson Sphere, we should probably do intersteller travel.
 
2013-09-13 03:53:56 AM  
The Sun was there.
 
2013-09-13 05:13:20 AM  

Sugarbombs: So long as it's west of where you are.


Everything is west of where you are.
 
2013-09-13 06:00:53 AM  

tchau: I would think once we harness the power of the sun, like with a Dyson Sphere, we should probably do intersteller travel.


LOL Good one!
 
2013-09-13 06:41:02 AM  
Among the triumphs listed in TFA, this one caught my eye:

it also made the fastest solar-powered crossing of the Atlantic in May this year. The Atlantic trip was completed in 22 days, shattering its own previous record by four days.

I'm pretty sure a 22-day crossing of the Atlantic hasn't been anything to write home about for a couple of centuries. It is a technological achievement to cross the Atlantic at all with a solar-powered aircraft, but this merely underscores how impractical solar power is for many uses.

To forestall the usual gabble from those with an axe to grind: Yes- solar power is a good idea. No- we won't be able to shut down oil production and maintain civilization with a solar grid.

I'm all for continuing research into "alternative" energy sources, but merely maintaining the current standards of living around the planet requires energy density not yet available from "alternative" sources. Bringing the entire planet up to US/European standards of living is going to require everything- solar, nuclear, wind, unicorn fart combustion, coal, oil, and probably several technologies which haven't been invented yet.
 
2013-09-13 06:51:48 AM  
"What about The Sun?"

"They'll go anywhere as long as there's tits."
 
2013-09-13 06:54:20 AM  
Quick! Fire up the Pry-Us Mobile!
 
2013-09-13 06:55:26 AM  
Clicked for bewbs; leaving disappointed.
 
2013-09-13 07:13:05 AM  
How about underwater? Into caves? Where it is night?
 
2013-09-13 07:34:04 AM  

Apik0r0s: How about underwater?


Bring this

www.progarchives.com
 
2013-09-13 08:06:08 AM  

Wenchmaster: To forestall the usual gabble from those with an axe to grind: Yes- solar power is a good idea. No- we won't be able to shut down oil production and maintain civilization with a solar grid.


Unless you're Germany.
 
2013-09-13 08:11:44 AM  

tchau: I would think once we harness the power of the sun, like with a Dyson Sphere, we should probably do intersteller travel.


Hah, yeah, and the best thing about that plan is that the Dyson Sphere will have to be 3d printed.
 
2013-09-13 08:13:54 AM  
Nasa's Helios reached a record altitude for a non-rocket powered aircraft of 96,863 ft (29,524m), in 2001, but broke apart in flight two years later.

Go nasa! The success of hiring for quotas!
 
2013-09-13 08:19:32 AM  
Except Lower Uncton.
 
2013-09-13 08:29:37 AM  
I dunno, almost 100,000 feet on propellers is pretty impressive.  Talk about a hi dihedral angle. SHEESH!
 
2013-09-13 08:30:58 AM  
FTFA:  The promise of fleets of clean, green transport powered by solar energy has for decades just been that: a promise. But a new wave of vehicles is pushing the limits of what's possible.  And in every practical sense, still is.
 
2013-09-13 01:09:45 PM  

Slaxl: tchau: I would think once we harness the power of the sun, like with a Dyson Sphere, we should probably do intersteller travel.

Hah, yeah, and the best thing about that plan is that the Dyson Sphere will have to be 3d printed.


Oh for sure, crumbly plastic crap today, universe-dominating technology... next week? At the latest?
 
2013-09-13 01:52:44 PM  

Wenchmaster: I'm all for continuing research into "alternative" energy sources, but merely maintaining the current standards of living around the planet requires energy density not yet available from "alternative" sources. Bringing the entire planet up to US/European standards of living is going to require everything- solar, nuclear, wind, unicorn fart combustion, coal, oil, and probably several technologies which haven't been invented yet.


I wouldn't be so sure of that statement. With exception of my air travel, almost the entirety of my life is powered by solar power - and most folks would agree that the standard of living I'm used to is very comfortable.

/typing from a solar powered computer.
//in a solar powered office.
///after commuting in a solar powered car.
 
2013-09-13 03:24:54 PM  

MrSteve007: Wenchmaster: I'm all for continuing research into "alternative" energy sources, but merely maintaining the current standards of living around the planet requires energy density not yet available from "alternative" sources. Bringing the entire planet up to US/European standards of living is going to require everything- solar, nuclear, wind, unicorn fart combustion, coal, oil, and probably several technologies which haven't been invented yet.

I wouldn't be so sure of that statement. With exception of my air travel, almost the entirety of my life is powered by solar power - and most folks would agree that the standard of living I'm used to is very comfortable.

/typing from a solar powered computer.
//in a solar powered office.
///after commuting in a solar powered car.


I've clicked on your profile before, and must say you live a good life it would seem...

Can I come visit?  (I'm a dedicated sailor, would be happy to just skipper you around!)
 
2013-09-13 03:36:53 PM  

MrSteve007: Wenchmaster: I'm all for continuing research into "alternative" energy sources, but merely maintaining the current standards of living around the planet requires energy density not yet available from "alternative" sources. Bringing the entire planet up to US/European standards of living is going to require everything- solar, nuclear, wind, unicorn fart combustion, coal, oil, and probably several technologies which haven't been invented yet.

I wouldn't be so sure of that statement. With exception of my air travel, almost the entirety of my life is powered by solar power - and most folks would agree that the standard of living I'm used to is very comfortable.

/typing from a solar powered computer.
//in a solar powered office.
///after commuting in a solar powered car.


I like the concept. What would you say is the relation between investment to get to where you are now, and savings compared to an average person? Or is it purely about self reliance, and reducing eternal expenditure and/or pollutants for you?

I wish I had enough roof space to be solar powered, and to live somewhere where there was sun.
 
2013-09-13 04:46:12 PM  

Slaxl: I like the concept. What would you say is the relation between investment to get to where you are now, and savings compared to an average person? Or is it purely about self reliance, and reducing eternal expenditure and/or pollutants for you?

I wish I had enough roof space to be solar powered, and to live somewhere where there was sun.


For me it was a bit of both, along with a bit of good old fashioned nationalism & independence thrown in. Every time I put gas/petrol into my car, I'd watch the dollars flip by on the pump. I figured that about a 1/3rd of that money went to domestic sources, 1/3rd to Canada, and 1/3rd to countries who don't really like the USA (ie. the middle east). So, about once a week, I gave $20 to support OPEC. I got tired of doing that.

I disliked the fact that every time I turned the ignition, the tailpipe would spew out all sorts of pollutants, from greenhouse gasses, to smog inducing particles, to simply unhealthy chemicals like carbon monoxide. Let alone the direct environmental impact of pumping & refining oil, simply to just burn it up (petroleum should be used for reusable products like plastics, roads & goods, not permanently burned away)

I also got tired of paying money to the utility to simply live. While I don't anticipate any major social disaster, I like being self-reliant - especially after a 6-day power outage a few years back. I know energy prices are always going up, and supplies of either gasoline or electricity can be cut/reduced for periods of time.

Throw in the fact I could kill two birds with one stone (home energy and transportation fuel), by getting rooftop PV and an electric car, and not have to worry about future oil embargos, power outages, and air pollution - you bet your butt I was onboard.

As for the financial side, it wasn't that bad. I had a bit of equity in my house, so I refinanced, getting the entirety of the $25,000 to install the rooftop solar panels, battery backup and rewire my breakers. In my State, solar power works out to have a 6.5 year return on investment, which is essentially a guaranteed 16% annual ROI. Far better than any savings account or guaranteed investment. For now, I've decided to lease the Nissan Leaf. Previously I was paying $300 a month in fuel costs. Now I pay $199 a month for the lease, and about $40 for insurance - so I end up about $60 ahead a month on the car.

Making all of those decisions meant almost zero out-of-pocket cost to me. Once the solar panels investment is paid off, I'll have another ~24 years of "free" energy to power 100% of my house and my driving needs. How much do you think gasoline or electricity will cost in 10-15-20 years from now? Mine will still be free in 2040.

/oh, and I live in a place that is likely cloudier than you in London . . . Seattle, WA.
 
2013-09-13 05:14:54 PM  
Well best of luck to you, I hope more people give it a go. It does seem like a no-brainer. I had a PV salesman come into my office a couple of weeks ago, showcasing his products hoping we could partner up so we recommend it to our clients and get a slice of the pie if they go for it, unfortunately very few people want to go for it, or even bother recommending it to people. I cannae explain it. His stuff did seem very good. Very reliable, good prices in respect to what I thought they were, based on years old prices, and something like 7 years to repay, which if you're living in a house you don't want to move from is good enough for me. Unfortunately I have no roof (in an apartment) and will be thinking of moving soon.
 
2013-09-13 09:27:21 PM  

MrSteve007: Slaxl: I like the concept. What would you say is the relation between investment to get to where you are now, and savings compared to an average person? Or is it purely about self reliance, and reducing eternal expenditure and/or pollutants for you?

I wish I had enough roof space to be solar powered, and to live somewhere where there was sun.

For me it was a bit of both, along with a bit of good old fashioned nationalism & independence thrown in. Every time I put gas/petrol into my car, I'd watch the dollars flip by on the pump. I figured that about a 1/3rd of that money went to domestic sources, 1/3rd to Canada, and 1/3rd to countries who don't really like the USA (ie. the middle east). So, about once a week, I gave $20 to support OPEC. I got tired of doing that.

I disliked the fact that every time I turned the ignition, the tailpipe would spew out all sorts of pollutants, from greenhouse gasses, to smog inducing particles, to simply unhealthy chemicals like carbon monoxide. Let alone the direct environmental impact of pumping & refining oil, simply to just burn it up (petroleum should be used for reusable products like plastics, roads & goods, not permanently burned away)

I also got tired of paying money to the utility to simply live. While I don't anticipate any major social disaster, I like being self-reliant - especially after a 6-day power outage a few years back. I know energy prices are always going up, and supplies of either gasoline or electricity can be cut/reduced for periods of time.

Throw in the fact I could kill two birds with one stone (home energy and transportation fuel), by getting rooftop PV and an electric car, and not have to worry about future oil embargos, power outages, and air pollution - you bet your butt I was onboard.

As for the financial side, it wasn't that bad. I had a bit of equity in my house, so I refinanced, getting the entirety of the $25,000 to install the rooftop solar panels, battery backup and rewire my breakers. In my State, solar power works out to have a 6.5 year return on investment, which is essentially a guaranteed 16% annual ROI. Far better than any savings account or guaranteed investment. For now, I've decided to lease the Nissan Leaf. Previously I was paying $300 a month in fuel costs. Now I pay $199 a month for the lease, and about $40 for insurance - so I end up about $60 ahead a month on the car.

Making all of those decisions meant almost zero out-of-pocket cost to me. Once the solar panels investment is paid off, I'll have another ~24 years of "free" energy to power 100% of my house and my driving needs. How much do you think gasoline or electricity will cost in 10-15-20 years from now? Mine will still be free in 2040.

/oh, and I live in a place that is likely cloudier than you in London . . . Seattle, WA.


I would love to do that, but an EV isn't an option for me. I drive 40k miles a year for work, so I have to use the company car.

Photovoltaics would be fantastic... not sure how long I'm gonna live here though. I wonder how much of that initial investment gets added to the resale value of the property...
 
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