Friday, February 20, 2009

Upcoming Solar and Alternate Energy Events/Conferences

Organic Photovoltaics 2009
April 27-29, 2009
Philadelphia, PA
Tel: 207-781-9618

Photovoltaics Summit 2009
June 1-3, 2009
San Francisco, CA
Tel: 207 781 9637

Concentrating Solar Thermal Power 2009
June 4-5, 2009
San Francisco, CA
Tel: 207-781-9618

Solar Power International 09
October 27-29, 2009
Anaheim, CA
Marilyn Sawyer
Tel: 202-559-2031


Monday, February 16, 2009

More Alternate Energy News Coming from India

Using Solar Reflective Concentrator for Cooking
Using Solar Reflective Concentrator for Cooking
Su, Keren
Buy at

The Times of India had an article that the India Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has expanded its Village Energy Security Project (VESP) to deploy solar devices to meet the energy needs for cooking, electricity, and transportation power through solar, renewable energy technologies, and biomass conversion technologies. This year, they are starting to deploy 25,000 solar cookers to villages and hamlets. An annual report filed by the Ministry for 2007-2008 stated that over 608,500 box-type solar cookers and about 8,000 dish solar cookers were deployed during 2006-2007. They are also planning on deploying solar water heaters, some of which might be manufactured by Solkar Solar Industry, Ltd--an alternate energy company based in India.

Solar box-type cookers and a solar mirror-concentrator-type cooker.


Alternate Energy and Environmental Alternatives Seen in India

It was announced a while back that Toyota was planning on having solar panels on the roof of their 2010 model Prius. I got excited to hear that--until I heard that the panels were to power a "fan to cool the interior when parked on sunny days".

Good grief. Hot interiors of cars have been with us since the creation of enclosed passenger compartments. We've learned to live with it. You know... duh... roll down the window.

What I was excited about was the use of solar panels on a car that has an electric motor and storage batteries. If I bought one of those "solar-panel Prius"... I'd try to find a way to disconnect the solar panel wires from the stupid little fan and instead use the solar panels to help keep the storage batteries charged for keeping the engine running. Already there are folks out there working on modifying the HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) to be PHEVs (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles). So, if you could put the solar on the roof to charge the batteries and then convert the gasoline engine to run on used cooking oil (biofuel), you'd NEVER be dependent on a gas station again. PERIOD.

Well... someone else has improved on that idea... and did it better.

New York Times Writer Thomas L. Friedman was attending the Energy and Resources Institute Climate Conference in New Delhi and met Caroline Howe, 23, a mechanical engineer on leave from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and Alexis Ringwald, a Fulbright scholar in India. These two young women convinced the CEO of India's Reva Electric Car Company to donate 3 of his company's cars--each retrofitted with longer-life batteries (good for 90 miles on a 6-hour charge) and a solar panel on the roof. The women then drove the cars around India (2,100 miles from Chennai to New Delhi) as a demonstration of innovative alternate energy capabilities. You can read more about this event and these alternate energy entrepreneurs here.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Silica or non-Silica, Photovoltaic or Non-Photovoltaic? The Sun Still WORKS!

The sun works! We've got proof of that.

Virtually EVERY source of energy on earth (except perhaps nuclear and geothermal) has its origins somehow related to the effect of the star in the center of our SOLAR system. This STAR is otherwise known as the SUN...

So, those of us looking for alternate energy (other than oil, that is) don't have to be wrapped up in just the Photovoltaic (PV) electricity generating panel movement.

The mirrored solar concentrators (either the independently focused flat-panel mirrors or the parabolic troughs or parabolic umbrella-like units) can aim their captured solar energy onto heat-absorbing receivers--the receiving material can either be water-piping for solar water heaters or they can contain phase-change-material (PCM) that converts from solid/liguid to gas to turn electric-generating turbines.

More engineering research and work must be conducted on a larger scale for the more visible installations. Yet, some of this stuff has been around since the 1970s (fooling around and tinkering with solar energy has been going on --in the modern sense--since the 1800s). Research on these things has been more of a "grass-roots" effort--with work going on in backyards, garages, and tool-sheds. Folks have been and still are tinkering with these alternate ways to use solar energy. You could get in on this activity and save yourself a lot in energy bills! (You betchya that oil and gas prices will be moving up--it's inevitable.)

Solar energy is all about a "grass-roots" movement. Photovoltaics have the most likelihood of being "on the grid" and therefor under the scrutiny of utilities companies and government agencies. The more accessable solar-heat from solar concentrators doesn't have to be on the grid. And thus, there's probably a lot of this going on out there that our governments (and the utility companies) don't know about.

And that's what makes it FUN!

If you are one of those adventurous "Do It Yourself" persons, you can find good references with the following great sources:

Alternate Energy Resource Manual--Lots of ideas for ways you can build your own alternate energy sources for your home or small business.

Solar Power Design Manual--Teach Yourself All About Solar Power. Comprehensive Manual by Genuine Expert. Spreadsheet Included.

Renewable Energy Solutions--The Manual--The folks who put this together have been presented on TV, Google, and the New York Times as a source of Alternate Energy Information. Good stuff for those in need of Alternate Energy!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009