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Wed May 8, 2013, 05:18 PM

Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough’



Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough’
Solar energy breakthrough

By Greg Gordon | McClatchy Washington Bureau


WASHINGTON — In a U.S. patent application, a little-known Maryland inventor claims a stunning solar energy breakthrough that promises to end the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels at a fraction of the current cost – a transformation that also could blunt global warming.

Inventor Ronald Ace said that his flat-panel “Solar Traps,” which can be mounted on rooftops or used in electric power plants, will shatter decades-old scientific and technological barriers that have stymied efforts to make solar energy a cheap, clean and reliable alternative.

“This is a fundamental scientific and environmental discovery,” Ace said. “This invention can meet about 92 percent of the world’s energy needs.”

His claimed discoveries, which exist only on paper so far, would represent such a leap forward that they are sure to draw deep skepticism from solar energy experts. But a recently retired congressional energy adviser, who has reviewed the invention’s still-secret design, said it’s “a no brainer” that the device would vastly outperform all other known solar technology.

Ace said he is arranging for a national energy laboratory to review his calculations and that his own crude prototypes already have demonstrated that the basic physics for the invention work.

If the trap even comes close to meeting his futuristic vision, its impact could be breathtaking: It could reorder the world’s energy landscape, end the global economic drag of soaring energy costs, and eventually curb greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for climate change.

more...

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/05/08/190683/patent-filing-claims-solar-energy.html#.UYrAhcq6jeN

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Reply Patent filing claims solar energy ‘breakthrough’ (Original post)
babylonsister May 2013 OP
msongs May 2013 #1
Half-Century Man May 2013 #2
Newest Reality May 2013 #3
Kelvin Mace May 2013 #4
Yo_Mama May 2013 #5
DetlefK May 2013 #6
immoderate May 2013 #8
immoderate May 2013 #7
kristopher May 2013 #9
immoderate May 2013 #10
caraher May 2013 #11
wtmusic May 2013 #12
FogerRox May 2013 #13
wtmusic May 2013 #14
FogerRox May 2013 #15
wtmusic May 2013 #16
FogerRox May 2013 #17
wtmusic May 2013 #18
kristopher May 2013 #19
FogerRox May 2013 #20
kristopher May 2013 #21

Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:21 PM

1. stick a wire in a dixie cup (do they still exist), paint the inside black, point at sun nt

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:22 PM

2. Until some corporation...

...drags him into a closed court for patent infringement, claiming similar research. They did it to Denny Kline apparently, he can't talk about it.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:35 PM

3. So, if his claims are true

and it does work that way and represents the breakthrough in energy he states then ...

He better hire some bodyguards and buy a well-guarded missile silo to live in because the Captains of Industry will not be pleased at all with curbing anything at all.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:47 PM

4. A lot of "if"s in the story

 

With so few fact corroborating the story, this should not have been published.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 05:48 PM

5. Well, I am skeptical

Since the article says that the device has not been constructed and tested yet.

On the other hand, you would patent it before you put it out for testing publicly, but normally there is a working device behind the patent app. This appears to be all speculative.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 06:21 PM

6. The main point is his claim of almost 100% efficiency.

"The key, he said, is his trap’s ability to absorb nearly 100 percent of the sunshine that hits it, while allowing only a tiny percentage of energy to escape, even at ultra-high temperatures."

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #6)

Wed May 8, 2013, 06:42 PM

8. It seems like he's challenging some laws of thermodynamics.

 

His device doesn't radiate, which is usually proportional to temperature. And it needs high temperatures.

I wonder if there's such a solution...

--imm

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Wed May 8, 2013, 06:34 PM

7. I hesitate to endorse technologies that appear to defy laws of physics.

 

Every year or so, since DU began, somebody posts a review of the Air Car, which runs on ... you guessed it -- air! Here's an article from 2008. But it's always around. Some simple math shows that it won't go more than five miles on compressed air. There are limits to how much you can compress air. (Maybe a golf cart?)

This solar hypothesis rings as unlikely to be true. If it is, it should be published. But it's unprotected. If he applies for a patent, he will be opposed by oil/energy companies. It's a Catch-22, or something.

But first we need some verification.

--imm

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Response to immoderate (Reply #7)

Wed May 8, 2013, 07:02 PM

9. This reminds me of something I once heard

“Anybody who is skilled in the art and understands what he’s proposing is going to have this dumbfounding reaction: ‘Oh, well it’s obvious it’ll work,’” said Darnell, a biochemist with an extensive background in thermodynamics.


A friend once opined that true genius is seeing the obvious that no one has ever noticed. I too doubt the story, but I try to hold an open mind. That said, I agree the article should not have been published since there is nothing of substance to report.

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Response to kristopher (Reply #9)

Wed May 8, 2013, 08:28 PM

10. You are quite right about the genius part.

 

And I hope it's so. (I'm still rooting for fusion! ) And I'm trying to envision how he might "trap" him some energy.

Like you, I don't rule things out. But I know what odds are. And also how they vary with time.

--imm

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2013, 07:09 PM

11. Apparently Ron Ace saved the world once already

Scientists doubt inventor's global cooling idea, but what if it works?

While there's a lot of buzz in the article about efficiency, the real question is cost. If he has some brilliantly cheap way to harness solar energy, that would be the real breakthrough. You can't do a factor of 10 better in efficiency, but there's no physical limit on how cheap you can make solar...

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Thu May 9, 2013, 07:23 PM

12. 166 w/m2 is all you will ever get from the sun.

Multiply by that by .18 percent for the most efficient solar panels available.

Though it will never be practical for utility power, he sun is wonderful for growing tomatoes and some highly technical applications:



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Response to wtmusic (Reply #12)

Fri May 10, 2013, 12:46 PM

13. 18%? Thats from 8 years ago Spectrolab produces 39.2% efficient panels.

Meanwhile in the lab


Solar Junction, won a coveted R&D 100 award from R&D Magazine for a world-record multijunction solar cell. The three-layered cell, SJ3, converted 43.5% of the energy in sunlight into electrical energy — a rate that has stimulated demand for the cell to be used in concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) arrays for utility-scale energy production.

http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/feature_detail.cfm/feature_id=2055

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Response to FogerRox (Reply #13)

Fri May 10, 2013, 12:59 PM

14. They're not in production

"outstanding potential".

They don't work at night. Or when it's cloudy.

Even if they were 100% efficient, it wouldn't be enough.

Meanwhile, in the real world...

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #14)

Fri May 10, 2013, 01:06 PM

15. SpectroLab 39.2% panels have been in production for nearly 2 years

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Response to FogerRox (Reply #15)

Fri May 10, 2013, 01:13 PM

16. Do you want to go down the road we did with wind

where you keep shifting your sources to accomodate bad data?

Even at 100% efficiency, solar doesn't provide enough energy. 116 watts/per meter. Squared. A pittance. Enough to run 1-1/2 light bulbs for every square meter of expensive, hi-tech solar panel. No place to store it. No power at all at night, or when it's cloudy.

Solar costs one-third more per kWh than nuclear, which is available all the time. That's why solar makes up less than 1% of U.S. energy.

You're dreaming. Wake up.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #16)

Fri May 10, 2013, 01:16 PM

17. You said 18%, thats way off. You've been corrected.

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Response to FogerRox (Reply #17)

Fri May 10, 2013, 01:17 PM

18. Thank you, I stand corrected. And utility solar power is useless.

You've been corrected.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #18)

Fri May 10, 2013, 03:29 PM

19. That must be why the utilities are rushing to install solar.

You certainly are channelling a lot of your inner Nnads lately. Your attacks on renewables are becoming increasingly desperate and shrill.

The "power density" argument that is so popular with the nuclear set is asinine; we have no shortage of space.

Using JUST the brownfield sites in the US we can produce the equivalent of 90% of our energy consumed. The fossil fuel and nuclear industries are so intent on spreading lies about renewables that the DOE had to produce a special fact sheet to address them titled "Myths about Solar Electricity"

Myth #1 :
Solar electricity cannot contribute a significant fraction of the nation’s electricity needs.
Solar electric panels can meet electricity demand on any scale, from a single home to a large city. There is plenty of energy in the sunlight shining on all parts of our nation to generate the electricity we need. For exam-
ple, with today’s com- mercial systems, the solar energy resource in a 100-by-100-mile area of Nevada could supply the United States with all of its electricity. If these systems were distributed to the
50 states, the land required from each state would be an area of about 17 by 17 miles. This area is available now from parking lots,
rooftops, and vacant land. In fact, 90% of America’s current electricity needs could be supplied with solar electric systems built on the estimated 5 million acres of abandoned industrial sites in our nation’s cities.


Myth #5
Solar electric systems are unreliable and produce substandard electricity.

Solar electric systems are some of the most reliable products available today. They are silent, have no moving parts, and have been tested to rigorous standards by public and private organizations. Many solar electric products have been tested and listed by Underwriters Laboratories, just as electrical appliances are. Warranties of 20-25 years are standard for most modules.
Solar electric systems connected to the utility grid generate the same kind of power as that from the power line. Today’s systems must meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code, the local utility, and local building codes. Once these systems are installed according to these requirements, the owner of a solar-electric-powered home has electricity of the same quality as any other utility customer.


Download: http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/pdfs/32529.pdf


My favorite answer on this sheet is the one for this myth:
Solar electricity can do everything—right now!


Solar electricity will eventually contribute a significant part of our electricity supply, but the industry required to produce these systems must grow more than tenfold over the next 10 years. In 2001, about 400 megawatts of solar electric modules were produced worldwide. According to an industry-planning document, in order to supply just 10% of U.S. generation capacity by 2030, the U.S. solar electricity industry must supply more than 3,200 megawatts per year. Most experts agree that with continued research, solar electric systems will become more efficient, even more reliable, and less expensive.

At the time this was written we were leading in panel production.
They said that 400MW of factory capacity needed to grow to 4GW by 2020.
What is global manufacturing capacity now, in 2013? It's closer to 40GW than 4GW isn't it?

What's the result?




What does a similar graph look like for nuclear?



Notice the difference in direction?

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Fri May 10, 2013, 04:59 PM

21. Today's solar technology is already kicking ass...

Report Anticipates 220 New Gigawatts of Distributed Solar Generation by 2018
By Chris Meehan
May 6, 2013



A recent Navigant Research report anticipates that the world will add 220 new gigawatts of distributed solar photovoltaics by 2018 as solar comes into parity with other energy sources, creating $540.3 billion in revenue in the process. That’s a significant jump in the amount of solar that is currently installed throughout world, which the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA) said reached 100 gigawatts at the end of 2012.

In recent years, much of the growth in solar is attributable to the giant PV projects being installed to meet utility demand in certain markets. The Navigant report anticipates that just the distributed generation projects — or projects under 1 megawatt in size — being installed over the next five years will more than double the world’s total solar capacity that is now online.

...The report anticipates that the solar market is transitioning from one that relies on a financial and engineering model (based on the wants and needs of utilities to own or source electric generation from large projects) to a more diverse model. Under the emerging model, both the sources of generation and the ownership of the generation assets will be more diverse, include third-party financing from companies like SolarCity and SunRun and other new financing mechanisms. These changes will partly be driven by some of distributed solar’s advantages, which include generating electricity onsite to offset the need to build new transmission capacity while avoiding line losses, according to Navigant.

Navigant also finds that the growth will occur as both PV modules and the balance of systems costs (i.e., soft costs and other costs not related directly to the modules and inverter) continue to fall, driving the installed costs of PV to between $1.76 per watt to $2.74 per watt throughout the world. “At this price, solar PV will largely be at grid parity, without subsidies, in all but the least expensive retail electricity markets,” it says.

The report also notes ...

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/blog/post/2013/05/report-anticipates-220-new-gigawatts-of-distributed-solar-generation-by-2018?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-May7-2013

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