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Solar energy from waste?

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Andy Hunt

Joined: 24 Nov 2005
Posts: 6760
Location: Bury, Lancashire, UK

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:37 pm    Post subject: Solar energy from waste? Reply with quote

Saw this on TOD/Energybulletin:


One recurring theme in nature is that anything which creates a waste product tends to also create an ecological niche for something which uses that product. This has also occurred in technology. It is relatively common for waste products which contain energy to find uses, but we may be about to see something a little different and more radical. For the past century, millions of tons of a particular waste product have been piling up all over the earth. This waste product contains no useful energy or rare elements, so its potential has taken longer to be widely recognized. It might just become something far more important to the future: a cheap and abundant energy-maker.

...To summarize the points above,

We've been ignoring a major supply of silicon-containing material.

This material can be made into elemental silicon very cheaply.

The silicon product is ready for direct fabrication into raw wafers for PV cells.

These PV cells may be extremely cheap: about 3 peak watts per dollar.

If we used all the annual supply of this silicon source, we could create peak capacity of about 10% of US average electric consumption every year.

If we used the stockpiles accumulated over the last several decades, we could go a lot faster than that.

Cheap renewable energy producers would be an economic engine and could even help rescue a moribund economy and currency.
I know this is a rhetorical question, but what are we waiting for?

All about a huge waste resource, the by-product of mining phosphates for fertiliser. Apparently sodium fluorosilicate, of which there is heaps and heaps around the place, can easily and cheaply be turned into PV-grade polysilicon.
Andy Hunt
Eternal Sunshine wrote:

I wouldn't want to worry you with the truth. Rolling Eyes
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Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 12605
Location: York

PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2007 2:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good grief.

'Cause they've been trying to find a use for this stuff for years, even down to convincing people that putting one of its by-products in the water is somehow good for the teeth...
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