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AstroPower, Inc. (APWRE) Message Board

  • ecoinvestor ecoinvestor Dec 18, 2000 1:03 PM Flag

    solar power and hydrogen economy

    I'm interested in the role solar power might be
    able to play one day in a hydrogen / fuel cell
    economy. But one person I know said that even if the
    entire planet were covered in solar panels, they
    wouldn't be able to electrolize enough hydrogen from water
    to meet all our current energy needs. So he seemed
    to think that solar power is very limited since
    there just isn't enough power in the form of sunlight
    hitting the earth. The only solution would be to put
    giant solar panels in orbit or something. Is this
    anywhere near being correct? How much hydrogen can be made
    per hour from a solar panel?

    SortNewest  |  Oldest  |  Most Replied Expand all replies
    • Oh yeah, I think that your sentiment is
      definitely echoed by a few people I've spoken with.
      Unfortunatley, I've not turned up too much more than that, so
      far.

      My current wave energy list
      is:

      pwre
      blueenergy.com
      http://www.wavegen.co.uk/

      I am not sure why, but pwre is a somewhat nebulous
      entity to me. I guess I will have to study it a bit
      more. For one thing, they don't seem to be precisely
      interested in mechanical wave energy so much as harvesting
      thermal differentials, desalination,
      etc.

      blueenergy.com seems ok, Canadian, but they're not at all a
      liquid publicly-traded company yet. I had an extensive
      email exchange with them recently, and one can invest
      them if one is well-heeled and satisfies some strict
      requirements. Also, they might be able to arrange a more modest
      stock-transfer (low five-figures, that sort of level) if one
      goes through some sort of paperwork process. I am very
      leary of such matters, but I see nothing awry with the
      company's products offhand. I encouraged them to let me
      know ASAP when they would qualify for a more common
      liquid American Stock qualification and I promised them
      that I could turn on quite a few investors at that
      time to them. :-) Although your fund is limited by
      strict rules, I think informally quite a few individual
      investors have developed similar rules... we just would
      prefer that the stock be liquid and commonly available
      for sale or purchase.

      The last one looks cool
      enough, but I see no evidence they're publicly
      traded.

      I think the primary holdup with wave energy is
      building and designing structures that can withstand the
      punishment and deliver the electricity. There's *too much*
      energy, physically, and the electrochemical environment
      is too punishing on the machinery. So, maybe, in the
      end the victors in this race will be companies with
      good materials engineering and civil engineering
      technology. There's more than one way to skin the cat,
      though, and one might speculate about more exotic
      thermal-differential or magnetohydrodynamic differential
      approaches.

      MM

    • We have been looking for an opportunity to invest
      in ocean energy (thermal or tidal or wave)for years.
      We cannot find a publicly traded company. We are
      limited to companies whose shares are actively traded in
      the US.

      Should you find something, we want to
      go.

    • http://www.wavegen.co.uk/

      I just saw it this weekend. Not publicly traded, I think.

    • I saw the web site for the UK company that has
      installed a wave energy system for generating electricity
      on some remote island, presumably in the North
      Sea.

      Did I find that link on this board. I wish I had
      saved it in my favorites....but in case you guys missed
      it, the concept seemed very simple.

      There is a
      cement base holding a turbine which is turned by the
      action of waves and tide, thereby generating
      electricity. Quite exciting, actually....about the closest
      thing to a free lunch we're ever going to see. Of
      course, water being the universal solvent, we'll need a
      good material that won't corrode quickly.

      AA

    • All valid points about the harsh conditions at
      sea, which is why we're investing in a company which
      makes land-based pv panels rather than a company which
      makes equipment to harvest
      sea-waves.

      Nevertheless, there's no doubt in my mind that at some point,
      energy at sea, particularly wave energy but also solar,
      thermal differential, etc., will be of some
      use.

      Whenever I see stories about communities facing erosion
      issues, I don't quite understand why they aren't pioneers
      in harvesting wave energy, if only so as to calm the
      waters that are eroding their communities.

      In any
      case, we'll see it within a few decades, particularly
      as materials get more reisistant to corrosion and
      breakage.

    • The panels could also be situated on beds of hardened lava (assuming the proximate volcano is inactive). Installation would be difficult, but you shouldn't see a temperature increase.

    • solar panels don't hold heat - soil does.

    • Prodigious_accumulator_of_wealth Prodigious_accumulator_of_wealth Dec 22, 2000 12:36 PM Flag

      I beg to differ. While I have to confess that I
      have no data on the absorbtivity of "dark red clay",
      few soils other than those that can be described as
      black, absorb much sunlight. I have seen much of the
      west and haven't seen many soils that I would describe
      as dark, at least relative to a solar panel. Based
      on what I have read about reflectivity of a variety
      of surfaces, soils are generally considered
      reflective. Some dark humus loaded soils are an exception.
      Agreed, soil in the shade would not radiate much heat,
      but the panels themselves get very hot, much hotter
      than any soil, and the amount of infrared radiation
      goes up with temperature. Panels are significantly
      darker than soils as far as I have seen. Perhaps there
      is some area that I am unfamiliar with where they
      are equal or nearly so. Must be a really hot place.
      Death valley is pretty hot and it has light colored
      soils. It isn't only the darkness of the soils that
      determines the temperature, but adding darker panels is just
      going to make things hotter. Paved roads are darker
      than soils and vegetation, (other than freshly paved
      with asphalt) a lot lighter than solar panels and we
      know the effect of roads on temperature.

    • Prodigious_accumulator_of_wealth Prodigious_accumulator_of_wealth Dec 22, 2000 12:17 PM Flag

      Good reply with issues about solar farms on the
      sea. A couple of comments though. Salt water is not a
      poor conductor, especially considering the cross
      sectional area available. Other considerations are the
      pounding of waves, especially when there are storms at
      sea. One good storm and you start over. Then there is
      the fact that sea areas often are foggy due to the
      ever present water vapor. Perhaps the heat generated
      would keep the temperature above the dew point. Then
      there is the errant ship, crashing into the system at
      night. After all, they run into islands and continents
      periodically.

      As for the comments on the extra radiation from
      reflection from the water surface made by another, wrong
      angle. Assuming the panels are pointing up towards the
      sun and above the surface, light from the surface
      would be only a factor when the sun is low on the
      horizon and that assumes you track.

    • at 18.5 this am. Saw article in IBD in October. The mutual fund following looks good. The sector looks good. The Ca electricity situation looks good. But concern re insider sells. GOOOOOO APWR!

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