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masmdu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:35 AM
Original message
Solar Energy as Cheap as Gas and Coal - New Discovery
www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/biztech/10/02/solar.cells.reut/in...


A major European chip maker said this week it had discovered new ways to produce solar cells which will generate electricity twenty times cheaper than today's solar panels.
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Caution Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
1. and in related news
Said chip maker is purchased by the coal and gas industries, dismantled and the primary engineers are found dead with the message "Don't mess with Karl Rove" carved into their chests with a sharpened lump of coal.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Plastics are made from petroleum
Even the oil industry wouldn't suffer a complete loss if this materializes.
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IkeWarnedUs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #1
11. you were being sarcastic Caution, but . . .
Edited on Tue Oct-07-03 02:05 PM by IkeWarnedUs
There was a story in the May 2003 issue of Discovery magazine about an American company that says they are perfecting a process to turn garbage into oil. It is supposed to be similar to the way oil is produced naturally. Here is how Discover discribed the process:

<snip>

Making oil and gas from hydrocarbon-based waste is a trick that Earth mastered long ago. Most crude oil comes from one-celled plants and animals that die, settle to ocean floors, decompose, and are mashed by sliding tectonic plates, a process geologists call subduction. Under pressure and heat, the dead creatures' long chains of hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon-bearing molecules, known as polymers, decompose into short-chain petroleum hydrocarbons. However, Earth takes its own sweet time doing thisgenerally thousands or millions of yearsbecause subterranean heat and pressure changes are chaotic. Thermal depolymerization machines turbocharge the process by precisely raising heat and pressure to levels that break the feedstock's long molecular bonds.

Many scientists have tried to convert organic solids to liquid fuel using waste products before, but their efforts have been notoriously inefficient. "The problem with most of these methods was that they tried to do the transformation in one stepsuperheat the material to drive off the water and simultaneously break down the molecules," says Appel. That leads to profligate energy use and makes it possible for hazardous substances to pollute the finished product. Very wet wasteand much of the world's waste is wetis particularly difficult to process efficiently because driving off the water requires so much energy. Usually, the Btu content in the resulting oil or gas barely exceeds the amount needed to make the stuff.

<snip>

"The chief difference in our process is that we make water a friend rather than an enemy," he says. "The other processes all tried to drive out water. We drive it in, inside this tank, with heat and pressure. We super-hydrate the material." Thus temperatures and pressures need only be modest, because water helps to convey heat into the feedstock. "We're talking about temperatures of 500 degrees Fahrenheit and pressures of about 600 pounds for most organic materialnot at all extreme or energy intensive. And the cooking times are pretty short, usually about 15 minutes."

Link to Discover story: http://www.discover.com/search/index.html

Interesting, but not why I bring it up here. Later in the article, I found this:

<snip>

Referring to U.S. dependence on oil from the volatile Middle East, R. James Woolsey, former CIA director and an adviser to Changing World Technologies, says, "This technology offers a beginning of a way away from this."

<snip>

R. James Woosey is the "Military Advisor" to Changing World Technologies, the company that holds the patents and opened a demonstration plant in 1999.

I'm going to see what I can find out about ownership and management at STMicroelectronics, the company in the CNN article. Here is a link to their website: http://www.st.com /

Edit to add, Woolsey is a big ole PNAC'er too.
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slackmaster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:38 AM
Response to Original message
2. Plastics?
Sounds great. I hope this turns out to be for real.

And to think I am contemplating dropping about $20K to put PV cells on my roof.
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cprise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:54 AM
Response to Reply #2
6. Solar energy's Mrs. Robinson moment
Plastics! :)
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alexwcovington Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
4. Cool
Hopefully they will be able to make them more efficient as time goes by...
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the_real_38 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 10:40 AM
Response to Original message
5. Great news....
It looks like the Europeans are ready to move history forward, instead of backward (see GW Bush).

Energy issues need more press if we're ever going to break away from fossil fuels.
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Champion Jack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
7. can't happen soon enough for me
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Old and In the Way Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. Won't happen here until the Republican War Profiteers are kicked
out of office. Oh, they may invest in the companies, to hedge their bets....but they will not allow our government to move in a direction that would favor renewable technology over their vested interests in ME oil.

Pure and simple, it's the "vision thing"...
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:42 PM
Response to Original message
9. recently polled on energy, not 1 ? on renewable energy
They want to run a huge power line through Wisconsin and I got a phone call polling me on the issue. The closest they came to renewalble energy was "would energy conservation help meet our energy needs?". At the end of the poll I asked the poller (is that a word?) why no questions on renewables and she said she would pass my concern along - yeah right.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-07-03 01:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. This would be big news if President Gore was in the whitehouse
unfortunately Europe is again leading the way into the future while the U.S. stagnates.
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