Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Solar Power 1

Solar power powered everything up until somebody started splitting atoms underneath a sports field in Chicago and I bet that the graphic above is accurate. Oil and coal are solar power stored over millions of years. Wind is solar power absorbed differentially across the earth and evening itself out. Fuel cells are mostly solar power that is converted into electricity by the process of coal or oil making hydrogen gas, whose energy is released in the fuel cell. Hydrogen energy generated by nuclear electricity that is released by fuel cells is not solar power though.

So nuclear-based fuel cells are not solar power. But solar power is nuclear power. All power boils down to the binding energy of atoms, which is released as heavy and light atoms move closer to an atomic weight of 80 atomic mass units. When most atoms are near 80 atomic mass units, everything is over. But that will take zillions of years. So bullets are still a good thing to buy in 2008.

But the solar power graphic above is idealistic and does not forward the national debate. It does not take into account the thermodynamic realities involved in converting raw energy to useful work.

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