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11-19-2012, 11:58 PM
  #9
RandV
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Join Date: Jul 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xX Hot Fuss View Post
I'm not too educated on this topic so take what I say with a grain of salt.

I'm under the impression that while alternative energy is neat and Eco-friendly and all that, there isn't much practicality to it. Again, just what I've heard but I hear that Solar and Wind Power can't replace coal and natural gas. It's too expensive and we'd need miles and miles of windmills and/or Solar Panels to adequately replace natural gas and coal.
This is technically true but also short sighted. As they are most of these 'green' technologies aren't nearly as efficient as coal or gas, but they're also probably a good century behind in terms of infrastructure and R&D, not to mention politics.

For example much of the efficiency loss in solar energy I believe is because it costs an enormous amount of energy to create the solar panels. Same thing with hybrid cars, they use far less gas but the electric batteries they use are a huge environmental concern. But the key point to remember is that we haven't come close to exhausting the many different innovations and inventions to improve the method. Right now they're basically like old truck engines that run at 8 miles to the gallon. Tons of things can still happen to get that mileage up.

For example, contributing to the thread here's a neat idea the Japanese have come up with for wind turbines.

Basically the common wind turbine looks like this:



And the Japanese did this:



They wrapped an aerodynamic loop around the structure creating a sort of wind tunnel, creating a significant jump in power production. Their claims in the article says it triples the efficiency, all that from simply adding an extra ring to the structure.

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