Monday, January 17, 2005

 

Get Ready to Go Solar...

Until now, solar energy has been inefficient and expensive. It wouldn't work on cloudy days, and you had to have semi-annoying panels laid out everywhere. All of that is about to change.

Scientists have just developed new solar cells that eliminate each of the above problems. The new cells can use the infrared spectrum, meaning they can create power regardless of the weather. In addition, they can be sprayed like paint onto everyday objects.

This could pave the way for innovations like cars that continuously recharge their hydrogen batteries, houses with power for heat and appliances, and clothing that powers portable devices.

If this technology is rolled out on a large scale, we could at the very last drastically cut our dependence on fossil fuels. On a more idealistic note, we could perhaps eliminate it altogether. According to one of the lead scientists:

"If we could cover 0.1 percent of the Earth's surface with [very efficient] large-area solar cells," he said, "we could in principle replace all of our energy habits with a source of power which is clean and renewable."
In any case, I expect this to be a revolutionary development in the coming decade.
...But I might be wrong. For one thing, I'm not sure if the oil industry would take kindly to the possibility of its obsolescence. Plus...you know, we might be contacted by aliens from Lalande 21185 who have the secrets of clean energy, world peace, and highly efficient weasel farming. But barring those two possibilities, I really see this as the energy source of the near future.


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