The next generation of energy sources will derive mostly from renewable sources such as wind and solar power.
With the ever increasing problems we face with our environment and the impact of fossil fuels, the need for alternatives sources of energy is increasing as we face a future of depleting fossil fuel reserves.
It is estimated that within the next 50 years, fossil fuel reserves will be so depleted they will no longer be viable as a source of energy.
Renewable energy sources such as solar power will have a major role to play in providing our much needed energy and presently all across the globe is being used to great effect. One such technology is a solar power tower which uses a number of flat mirrors that can be moved called heliostats. The mirrors are used to concentrate the sun’s rays on a collector tower.
The solar power that is collected is transferred into liquid and is then converted into working electricity or stored in mass to offset days when output is not at capacity.
Solar panels are also used to drive a steam engine or turbine in electricity generation. This is achieved when solar power using a concentrating collector converts boiled water into steam. The steam is used to power nuclear and coal electricity generating stations. The source of the steam can come from a number of solar energies such as a power tower.
There are many solar power technologies available today with more in development.
The most commonly known is the solar panels or photovoltaic cells which are normally placed on a
roof of a house to generate electricity and provide hot water for the home.
Water heated in a solar collector is used for hot water in the home. These solar power cells are used in many technologies commonly used today. Calculators with LCDs, along with SOS roadside telephones have solar power technologies installed. There are Small solar cells available which are placed on top of a back pack while out hill walking, these are used to recharge batteries for torches; GPS and radio’s while other types are designed to recharge MP3 music players.
Another use is powering satellites is space.
Extensive research is being presently carried out to build a solar power satellite in space. The satellite will be high in the earths orbit and uses microwave power transmission to transfer solar power to solar collectors on the earth.
The huge advantage of this technology is there will be no obstruction of the transfer from the satellite to earth and it won’t be affected by day and night cycle as it will receive constant solar power. This technology could be the next generation of solar power generation.