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How can solar energy save the earth and energy source that is currently being depleted?

this is for my bio paper

4 COMMENTS

  1. To put it in perspective, the Earth doesn’t need saving, it will continue on as it has for the past couple of billion years. But the energy issue affects life on the planet as will as our current level of civilization.
    The more modern civilizations rely heavily on depletible sources of energy, i.e. coal, oil, nuclear fuel.
    Eventually they will run out. Solar energy as well as wind power, geothermal, tidal, and others are considered renewable and also affect the climate less than the other sources.

  2. Oil is being depleted. But the concept of peak oil suggests we may be reaching a point were less and less will be produced. It is not about to run out. Coal reserves in the US are estimated at several hundred years. Gas reserves in the US are also now estimated at several hundred years with new techniques and finds. All these resources are fixed. They are also like solar storage as the original source of power for all of them was the sun.
    They also pollute the atmosphere when they are burned. So to keep the solar battery charged, to keep the chemicals locked up that would otherwise pollute our environment can’t we get energy from the sun directly? Sure. But the concentration of energy in fuels has lead to the concentration of economic and political power as well. The concentration of economic and political power can be a tremendous force for good, but it is a force and it tends to be otherwise as self interest has less and less to check abuses.
    It is possible that the pursuit of solar energy directly and not in its concentrated forms will lead to a more diffuse holding of economic and political power and in this way “save the Earth” and preserve the storage of chemicals in fossil fuels that are currently being used if not “depleted.”
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  3. the more solar energy is used in the world, the less harmful greenhouse gas pollution coming from fossil fuels related industry would be because any bigger percentage in solar power use means using less fossil fuels, and this is not only good to protect our planet from pollution, but also to protect humanity from climate change problem.

  4. Keep in mind that the energy in fossil fuel reserves are from the sun. It’s solar energy captured and chemically stored through photosynthesis and accumulated for millions of years. It’s only being depleted because we’re using it much much faster than it’s being built up by nature and it’s only detrimental to our environment because it’s use is liberating carbon and hydrogen that had been sequestered from our environment for millions of years, combining it with the oxygen in our atmosphere to form CO2 and H2O resulting in a net increase of atmospheric CO2 and a net decrease of O2.
    The process of photosynthesis has a maximum efficiency of 6.6% and indeed most plants achieve efficiencies well below 1%. The current record for photovoltaic efficiency is 42.8% but unlike leaves, photovoltaics do not grow on trees.
    The process of storing energy chemically is something that we do know how to do, batteries are the most common way of doing so, producing hydrogen from H2O by electrolysis is another but it’s also possible to produce carbon monoxide from CO2 and hydrogen from H2O by using cobalt oxide disks heated to 2400 Celsius at which point they give off their oxygen then when cooled to 2000 Celsius, they would grab an oxygen atom from any H2O or CO2 exposed to it leaving H2 and CO. The mixture of H2 and CO gases is important because the Fischer Tropsch reactions synthesizes any linear hydrocarbon that you desire from a mixture of H2 and CO which is known as “syngas” because of it’s usefulness in producing high value liquid hydrocarbons such as gasoline and diesel. This means that we can just as easily synthesize gasoline and diesel from CO2 and H2O with the help of a solar furnace and the use of such synthetic fuels would be carbon neutral as the CO2 and H2O products of combustion are just the CO2 and H2O from which they were synthesized and not something released from storage deep within the Earth.
    Of course, despite the inherent inefficiencies of photosynthesis, work is in progress on artificial photosynthesis and carbon nanotubes have proven to be very promising for this purpose.
    Most sources of energy are solar, biomass is solar via photosynthesis, fossil is biomass accumulated over time, wind is from solar heating of the atmosphere, and hydro is from evaporation of water by the sun with subsequent precipitation and the flow back to the sea. The only sources of energy that are not solar are tidal, geothermal, and nuclear. About 174 PetaWatts falls on the Earth of which 90 PetaWatts makes it to the surface of the Earth, our current global energy consumption from all sources of energy is only 15 Terrawatts. The amount of solar energy available to us is several orders of magnitude more than we currently use.

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