Crazy Solar Power Plants

by Moin Uddin Ahmed Tipu

And you thought it stopped at solar panels? Trace Dominguez has the lowdown on some strange new ways to harness the sun’s rays.

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“Three floating solar islands to launch on Swiss lake this year”

“Two Swiss companies have teamed up to build three floating “solar islands”, each with 100 photovoltaic panels, on Lake Neuchâtel this year.”

“Solar Island–A Groundbreaking Concept”

“A Solar Island is a floating circular island (a tracking platform) with a diameter of up to 200 m. It consists of an outer torus and a membrane, on which the solar receivers are placed. ”

“Is Solar Energy Totally Bogus or Something that Gives Hope?”

“I recently posted a simple Internet meme suggesting that if we subsidized solar energy like we subsidized fossil fuels that this could be good.”

“How Solar Thermal Power Works”

“Most of us don’t think much about where our electricity comes from, only that it’s available and plentiful.”

“Space Energy: Is Space Solar Power Feasible?”

“With the end of “cheap oil” rumored to be rapidly approaching (if not already upon us), not to mention the effects of fossil fuel use upon the environment and climate, sources of alternate, clean and renewable energy appear to be the unavoidable wave of the future.”

“Power Plants: Artificial Trees That Harvest Sun and Wind to Generate Electricity”

“A start-up proposes forests of fake trees with “leaves” that soak up sunshine and flutter in the breeze to generate clean solar and wind power. Could it just be crazy enough to work?”

“Solar Or Wind Power? Why Not Both?”

“Solar and wind power have long been two of the main contenders in the race to find the next big renewable energy resource. Rather than choosing between the two, scientists at Washington State University have instead combined them.”

DNews is a show about the science of everyday life. We post two new videos every day of the week.

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41 comments

Mog of War October 15, 2013 - 11:04 AM

*facepalm*

…That's like saying adding more sugar to a cake mix doesn't increase the calories because you're still using the same amount of frosting. I understand where your coming from, but if you understood the root of HOW greenhouse warm the Earth you'd realize how idiotic what you just said really is.

Greenhouse gasses work by TRAPPING PHOTONS!!! Rather by INCREASING PROBABILITY of trapping… Commutative property of Multiplication… USE IT!!!

Sarah Szabo October 15, 2013 - 7:15 PM

I don't know what you are talking about, if you beam down the radiation as radio waves, they won't be absorbed by the atmosphere. Hence why we make topological maps of Venus using radio waves. Because they WON'T get absorbed by the atmosphere. Global warming is visible light being absorbed by the atmosphere and being re radiated as infrared light and not being able to escape. Radio beaming escapes this and therefore does not cause any global warming footprint.

Mog of War October 16, 2013 - 1:10 AM

Not entirely true. some of it is regardless, and on high enough levels, a great deal is. Never mind that radio absorbtion as a means of electical production is vastly inefficient,and would have to be concentrated, not diffused to produce any real power(And also to prevent jamming the global communications system. Also even if the only earthbound energy is the electrical, electricity ALWAYS GIVES OFF HEAT! It's always lost from elsewhere thus not considered but in this case it's lost from space.

Sarah Szabo October 17, 2013 - 12:43 PM

How does radio wave beaming give off heat if it is not absorbed by the atmosphere? Also, we can have the beam concentrated on centers where radio traffic is prohibited. Like where people do radio astronomy. The Arecibo observatory shot a giant particle beam of radio light to M13 with little disturbances. Also, we have radio traffic all over the place, but I don't think it has caused a warming apocalypse.

Mog of War October 18, 2013 - 3:33 AM

Absorbtion spectra are not binary phenomena, but the normalized outcomes of probability functions. A thick enough cloud of any substance is opaque to all frequencies. Concentrate the beam enough and the otherwise improbable collisions become certainties, ESPECIALLY at the location where energy in absorbed. If most of it goes back into space, then you don't have a power plant at all but an overpriced solar-powered signal jammer. That's why microwave, infrared, and ultra-violet are being proposed.

Payvand Pajoohi October 30, 2013 - 3:30 AM

Your videos are enjoyable, but aren't long enough and not detailed enough. =)

SangoProductions213 November 1, 2013 - 9:53 AM

ok…someone thought about it before someone else. My god! So devious. They are like totally stealing everything.

TheWolfHowling January 7, 2014 - 2:45 AM

One other benefit of floating Solar Thermal plants is that they can also produce potable drinking water through the desalination of seawater

Eric The Epic January 26, 2014 - 8:13 PM

Space Core when he  hears the news: SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!!! What about SPACE!?! SOLAR POWARD SPAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE?!?!

Benjamin Brown February 14, 2014 - 10:51 PM

Floating farms next.

Amones-Ray February 21, 2014 - 12:16 AM

0:48 1:59 which is it? thermal or photovoltaic?

Stephen Lines March 12, 2014 - 8:17 PM

whoawhoawhoa abdabi? 

teitr28 March 25, 2014 - 12:54 PM

or harvest sheep farts as bio gas its high in carbon dioxide or as far as im concerned

Altered Reality Cosplay March 31, 2014 - 3:13 AM

Can you guys talk about the possibility for Orbital Elevators like from Halo

Disthron April 3, 2014 - 12:07 AM

Hang on, do you mean harvesting electricity from an actual living tree?! That would be awesome!

Sailor Barsoom April 29, 2014 - 1:16 AM

Reading the comments, I think a few things need to be said.

Fusion isn't ready to go yet, and even when it is, processing Lunar regolith for helium3 is NOT a small undertaking.  If we compare building solar power satellites from Lunar regolith with extracting H3, we find that H3 requires over 28 times as much regolith to be processed for the same amount of end-use electricity.  And that's leaving aside that fusion doesn't work, at least not yet.

Nuclear is dirty.  It produces dangerous waste which must then be dealt with.  However, LFTR could be a solution to this problem, and could even be a solution to the problem of the nuclear waste we've already got.

The sunlight intercepted by solar power satellites is sunlight which would have missed the Earth otherwise, which is why the satellite doesn't shadow any part of the Earth.  So yes, it adds energy and thus heat to the Earth.  However, electric power plants burning coal, oil, natural gas, or biomass also release waste heat, more than a watt and a half of it for every watt of electricity put into the power grid.  For nuclear it's more than two watts of waste heat for every watt of electricity put into the power grid.  For space based solar power, it's a tenth of a watt of waste heat released for every watt of electricity put into the power grid.  And no greenhouse gasses, particulate matter, or radioactivity.

I've been a big fan of space based solar power for a long time, and the only real problem with it is the cost of launching stuff into space.  If we can solve that, then SBSP becomes the answer to all of our energy needs.

Kevin August 22, 2014 - 12:04 PM

why do these great things happen all the time not in the US.

Oh, because its america.

Dowlphwin September 14, 2014 - 7:20 PM

My favorite way to generate electricity is any way that utilizes zero point energy. It is mostly unspectacular, doesn't require megalomanic projects to be significant, generally takes very little energy and other resources to put in place. It dwarfs all other forms of generating electricity in pretty much all aspects you could think of. The only practical downside is that there's too much political-economical resistance.

tieme koenders October 28, 2014 - 1:17 AM

my favorite way of pauwer gerneration is us e solar pannels an geo therm al energt conbined 

Dead Account December 23, 2014 - 2:16 PM
Rere Boots January 24, 2015 - 3:31 AM

Wind power is so cool I love it because we can make power just be wind

Tony Hardy February 26, 2015 - 3:00 AM

Thorium is my favorite. It will blow anything you have away, and in every way. Way more power, cleans up the uranium mess we already made, it eats it, it uses it for useful power. Molten salt reactors can burn up the waste from the uranium nuclear we been doing safely and cleans it up, the waste from thorium is less than 1%, and that 1% that is left over is highly useful for NASA in their space probes to power them further beyond the reaches of space of anything we have ever known.

mikael ario masri May 18, 2015 - 4:33 PM

You Play Simcity

Jessyca Conrad June 30, 2015 - 7:23 AM

I prefer molten salt reactors and pressurized water reactors. I also really like hydro power.

The Eh Team July 9, 2015 - 8:49 AM

Using the old calculator between the ears I did the calculation to replace 1 single Bruce nuclear reactor (850MW) with batteries for a set time. Turns out it's MUCH more than $400,000 for 12 seconds which I initially thought. (using Tesla PowerPack $250/KWh).

Real price to replace 850MW reactor — $708,333.33 for 12 seconds! (rounded down)
For a whole 12 hours — $2,550,000,000.
24 hours for security — $5,100,000,000.
Bruce nuclear has 8 of these things (for 24h) — $40,800,000,000 for 1,632,000 of these PowerPacks.

Sven February 8, 2016 - 1:20 AM

If we would stop making babies (nobody is standing somewhere screaming to be born) all our troubles would be over in 100 years and we could just keep burning a little bit less every year without the need for techno-nonsense pipe dreams. Antinatalism, brothers & sisters!

onokje April 21, 2016 - 8:27 PM

Just plain "old" PV does it for me. It works, it doesn't break, and it works TODAY. There is no disadvantage of solar power generation. None. Space solar power is utterly crap. The efficiency of the cells itself may be higher, but as the video already stated: It costs a shit-ton to make it all work, lowering your efficiency to an all-time low. The plans sound kinda like sci-fi to me. It doesn't mean that it won't work one day, but again: PV already works TODAY. Put solar panels on your roofs people, you will not be disappointed.

Adam Hartstein April 28, 2016 - 8:39 AM

Space elevator

Nathan Lolley December 31, 2016 - 1:11 PM

Couldn't one put solar panels on say a blimp or zeppelin and float it above the clouds? after the batteries fill up just dock it and do a reverse charging, drain it to 10 or 20 percent and send it back up to collect more energy. You could even send it up with cargo and use it as a transport vessel. You wouldn't have to worry about rain or clouds blocking out the panels because you'd be above the clouds and unless we suddenly get sky pirates it's not like you'd have to make thousands of repairs on the things.

BalaTutor March 30, 2017 - 9:47 PM

I like the way you talk Trace :-)

JoeAceJR April 10, 2017 - 1:59 AM

Thorium reactors are the way to go

Databing May 29, 2017 - 2:31 AM

Space beaming all the way, but an actual "power plant" awesome.

Kevin Lane June 9, 2017 - 3:30 AM

You didn't sound crazy from the start. :-) My favorite is solar energy from space.

Celia Betty April 14, 2018 - 5:15 PM

if anyone is looking for some alternative energy sources then I recommend guide from this website since it's very well explained and also if you have any question they're supports is great [Awesome Plan Here >>>https://t.co/2gsWzGL1BF ]. These days electricity cost a lot so why not save your money

Shantay Madison May 7, 2018 - 3:31 AM

The project like this step by step is described on the Avasva website and many more plans you can find on that website.

Shantay Madison May 8, 2018 - 4:42 AM

if you want to know how to make some of your DIY kinds of stuff yourself, just go to an Avasva website. There you'll find your answers :)

Russell Fine Arts May 23, 2018 - 10:38 AM

Solar is the best method for power generation, however, I fly a lot for work and see virtually every house and warehouse in the U.S. and Europe with no solar panels and when I do see them, they only occupy a tiny portion of the roof. I think we need to cover ALL roofs before we panic about running out of land to put modules. I have solar PV on 1/2 my house's roof and I produce all the power we need plus 20% more and we charge our EV with them.

Shantel Bollmann June 8, 2018 - 3:05 AM

Take some info about energy on Avasva . It was very helpful to me :D

Shanta Hsieh July 8, 2018 - 8:11 AM

if you want to know how to make it yourself , just go to Avasva webpage. There you'll find your answers :)

Vincent Robinette February 13, 2019 - 1:29 PM

My favorite way would be solar panels adapted to existing structures, so no land is allocated for just that purpose. There would be no additional environmental impact beyond the construction of the structures. I also like wind farms, because to get a practical amount of power, the turbines need to be the big multi megawatt machines, which are too large for residential areas. Combine that with electrical energy storage, to have available dispatchable power, that would be a winning combination.

Henri Sakakini May 2, 2019 - 9:55 PM

Learn how to use clean solar alternative power http://www.astro-vision-avenir.com/index_Eng.html