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Large Scale Solar Stirling Engine

Physical Science Green Energy Costs

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you a little of the costs of green energy. Although the energy itself is free that is the sunlight is free we don't have to pay to stand in the sunlight, these forms of energy do require infrastructure. If you think of Geothermal energy, energy from, within the earth this energy requires large wells digging and those wells down which we pump water and from which we get hot water, that is a large amount of infrastructure. And we have to take that energy to towns. So we need big pipes, we need lots.

Of water and so forth. This is the cost of Geothermal energy, although the energy itself is free. Biomass is the same. If we want to produce Biomass we have to grow the plant. We have to buy the seeds. We have to prepare the ground. We have to harvest it, we have to transport it to where it's going to be processed. And then we have to have a facility to turn it into energy. So when we talk about diesel from Biomass it does have a cost. Although again the sun that makes the plants grow is free. Hydroelectric power, is very effective.

And we get massive amounts of electricity but I can't see us building a dam on the cheap. These are huge construction projects, they require roads and infrastructure and towns and hundred of thousands of people to run them. So hydroelectric power although the actual energy is free, because it's the sun's energy moving the water and the water cycle. The actual cost is the cost of the infrastructure creating the electricity from the hydroelectric power. Wind energy is also the same. The infrastructure is needed. The tall tower, the turbines and.

Getting the energy to people. So it is free, the wind we don't pay for but we pay for the infrastructure. Finally solar energy must be one of the most expensive of all these renewable sources because silicone and the related chemicals and structure are very expensive to produce. And therefore solar cells probably every fifteen years you've got to replace them and it probably takes about fifteen years to pay the cost of producing them. So overall solar energy is actually quite an expensive form of free energy. So although the energy.

Capturing Light, Controlling Heat

The molecular foundry where I work is the nano science center here at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. My research relates to the use of nano crystals, or really tiny crystals of inorganic materials for various energy applications. We've been really interested in how to use nano crystals as coatings on windows to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The most benefit for energy efficiency with our coatings will probably come from homes because that's where you can take most advantage of the solar heat gain coming from the sun. Their properties.

The way they interact with the sunlight coming through the window can be changed in response to what's going on outside, whether it's sunny, or cloudy, or hot, or cold. I've also talked to people who might want to put it in their greenhouses, for example, where it's very important to keep the temperature in a narrow range but you really want all of the light for photosynthesis of the plants inside. Thermal control coatings on satellites, we've heard people be interested, so I think there are a number of other possibilities for this technology.

Our coatings are made entirely from solution and that's all the way from the synthesis of the materials to actually preparing the coatings on the glass. We've created a robot in the last couple years. We're really able to produce very regular batches of nano crystals. So to actually make our coatings we use what's called a spin coater and this holds your piece of glass and you put your solution of nano crystals on it and then spin it around to spread it into a nice, thin layer. As it continues to spin, the solution.

Dries and that leaves behind your thin film of nano crystals. It's more or less like spin art that you might have done as a kid with a piece of paper and paints that you can spread on them. So the windows test facility is a laboratory here at LBNL where they can install full size prototypes of new types of windows containing all different coatings on the market. We hope eventually to have the kind of large scale prototypes that could go into that kind of facility. A big issue for new window coating technologies is to make sure that the cost.

Nanotechnology improves energy efficiency

The Molecular Foundry where I work is the nanoscience center here at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. My research relates to the use of nanocrystals, or really tiny crystals of inorganic materials for various energy application. We've been really interested in how to use nanocrystals as coatings on windows to improve the energy efficiency of buildings. The most benefit for energy efficiency with our coatings would probably come from homes because that's where you can take most advantage of the solar heat gain coming from the sun. There are properties, the way they interact with the sunlight coming through the window, can be changed in response.

To what's going on outside, whether it's sunny or cloudy or hot or cold. Also talk to people who might want to put it in their greenhouses for example, where it's very important to keep the temperature in a narrow range, but you really want all of the light for photosynthesis of the plants inside. Thermal control satellites, we've heard people be interested, so I think there are a number of other possibilities for this technology. Our coatings are made entirely from solution and that's all the way from the synthesis.

Of the materials to actually preparing the coatings on the glass. We've created a robot in the last couple of years. We're really able to produce very regular batches of nanocrystals. So, to actually make our coatings we use what's called a spin coater and this holds your piece of glass and you put your solution of nanocrystals on it and then spin it around to spread it into a nice thin layer. As it continues to spin, the solution dries and that leaves behind your thin film of nanocrystals. It's more or less like spin art that you might have.

Done as a kid with a piece of paper and paints that you can spread on them. So, the windows test facility is a laboratory here at LBNL where they can install fullsize prototypes of new types of windows containing all different coatings on the market. We hope eventually to have the kind of largescale prototypes that could go into that kind of facility. A big issue for new window coating technologies is to make sure that the cost is low enough that it's available to all the people that might want to buy it and improve the efficiency.

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