The energy industry is going through revolutionary changes due to an increased push for clean energy technology and lower carbon emissions globally. Solar and wind power are some of the most commonly used renewable energy sources currently, with innovations constantly being developed, particularly in the solar energy space. Carbon dioxide generating clean energy - if those were words you never thought you would see in one sentence, then you’re not alone. But that’s exactly what researchers from GE Global Research are making possible. Carbon dioxide is one of the largest issues contributing to climate change today, and clean energy is just one of the many solutions that scientists and climate activists hope will solve temperature rises before it's too late. One of the most recent developments in the clean energy sector not only fights to reduce CO2 emissions, but actually uses the gas to create clean energy storage solutions. A new technology being developed by engineer Stephen Sanborn and his team hopes to make a new type of solar battery that is able to provide power to almost 100,000 homes. To achieve this, this new battery technology will use the largest contributor to climate change - CO2. GE’s researchers have developed a way to transform stored carbon dioxide into storage technology for solar energy. The development will produce an entirely new solar storage technology, introduce another competitor to the recently released lithium ion solar battery technology - led by the famous Tesla Powerwall. How does it work? The technology has two main elements - the first involving heat collection and the second cooling the heat and storing it. The heat from the sun is collected by the same solar pv panel technology commonly used in the solar industry, the difference comes in the storage process of the captured energy. Once collected by solar panels, the heat is stored in a liquid of molten salt. This solution is extremely hot. The liquid molten salt is then cooled by CO2 with surplus electricity to produce dry ice. The molten salt liquid then transforms the dry ice CO2 into a ‘supercritical’ fluid that is highly efficient in transferring energy into a turbine called a sunrotor. This sunrotor can then supply stored energy as needed. Not only is this process highly efficiency in terms of energy, but also in terms of space. The sunrotor is small enough to fit on an office shelf, and will be able to power 100,000 homes. The space efficiency of this technology is one particularly revolutionary development, as space required for some large scale renewable energy installations is one of the few drawbacks of current technologies. In addition to increased size efficiency, the sunrotor technology is also expected to bring down the cost of energy from $250/MWh to $100/MWh. “It is so cheap because you are not making the energy, you are taking the energy from the sun or the turbine exhaust, storing it and transferring it” said Sanborn. The sunrotor technology is also highly energy efficient; once deployed they could yield up to 69 per cent of their stored energy back to the grid. In comparison the most efficient gas power plants only produce a maximum of 61 percent energy return.
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With the worlds natural resource depleting at an alarming rate it has become very important to shift to cleaner and renewable technologies for meeting our lifestyle demands. One of the most convenient and effective ways to adapt to a greener lifestyle at home is by utilizing the sun’s energy and converting it into power for domestic use.
Understanding solar energyThe term solar energy refers to the utilization of the sun’s energy to create clean and renewable source of power for various uses. An increasing number of households are adopting more energy efficient technologies which are benefitting them by decreasing their power consumption and thereby leading up to considerable cost savings over a long term.
Effective guidelines for utilizing solar energy for domestic useListed below are some effective guidelines through which home owners can use solar energy successfully for domestic use:
- Replace electric heaters with solar water heaters: Replacing the electric heaters in your home with solar energy powered heaters can help you save up on your electricity bills by a considerable amount as well as make your home more eco-friendly.
- Use solar torches and lamps: There are a large number of solar energy powered lights and torches available in the market which you can easily charge by keeping them out in the sunlight and use them around the house as well as in your garden and porch area in the evening.
- Cook with solar cookers: Cooking with solar powered cookers and stoves is a great way to save up on power as well as eat nutritious food. You can leave out the food to cook in the solar powered cooker very conveniently in the morning and can return home to a wholesome and nutritious meal.
- Use solar energy battery chargers: There are a large number of affordably priced chargers which are powered by solar energy and are a very innovative, handy as well as environmental friendly way to charge cell phones.
- Install photovoltaic solar panels: Installing photovoltaic panels on your rooftop will trap solar energy which can be used to power various electrical appliances around the house.
The Sun energy is a renewable source as it is inexhaustible and therefore an extremely environmental friendly alternative in contrast with other energy sources that are derived from fossil fuels. Using solar powered appliances around the house will help you in lowering your electricity bills as well as contributing to a large extent to reduce our carbon emissions. So go ahead and follow the above guidelines and use solar energy to its optimum for domestic use.
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