Unity secondary schools


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Unity secondary schools

  1. 1. Unity Secondary Schools’<br />Young Gifted Scientist Programme (YGSP)<br />2nd Inter School Literature Review Competition 2011<br />Team Members: Soh Zheng Yang (Leader)<br /> Choy Yu Yong<br /> Tay Wei Sheng<br /> Ng Wei Sing Darren<br />Teacher Mentor: Ms Nada<br />School: Hwa Chong Institution <br />Contents<br />Introduction 3<br />Development of ways to store solar energy <br />Thermo chemical solar power 3<br />Solar Wind Power 4<br />Solar Energy collector 5 <br />Discussion5<br />Conclusion6<br />References7<br />Acknowledgement Page7<br />Solar Energy: Harnessing the Power of the Sun<br />Introduction:<br /> Solar energy, produced from the Sun, account for most of the renewable energy available on Earth as compared to other renewable energy sources like wind, wave and tidal power. Thus, we have been trying to find the most efficient way to harness the most out of this massive source of energy. It has been harnessed by humans since ancient times, and we have been repeatedly trying to find different ways to harness more of it. Even though there is a huge amount of solar energy produced each day from the sun, we are currently only able to harness a miniscule fraction of it. There are mainly two solar technologies, the passive solar and the active solar. Passive solar involves orienting a building to the Sun, so that it receives the most solar energy, and choosing certain materials with favourable thermal mass. Active solar involves the use of photovoltaic panels and solar thermal collectors to capture the solar energy needed. Also, plants have been known to use solar energy, to conduct photosynthesis, creating excess glucose and storing them as starch in the process. Although plants currently absorb less solar energy than solar panels, scientists are finding ways to modify these plants, to make them absorb more solar energy, creating more starch in the process, increasing the viability for the biofuel industry. Thus as we can see, there are many ways of using this solar energy to our advantage, but what matters is how we can use the energy to its full potential. This begins our research on solar energy, the renewable source of energy.<br />Development of ways to store solar energy<br />The key technological advancement in the ways of capturing solar energy for future use includes: (i) Thermo chemical solar power; (ii) Solar Wind Power; (iii) Solar Energy collector. Three representative examples for the production of biodiesels are highlighted below. <br /><ul><li>Thermo chemical solar power</li></ul>With the help of the thermo chemical technology, thermo chemical solar power is a much better and efficient way of using renewable energy from the sun than the conventional solar system currently. This thermo chemical solar power allows all heat to be stored unlike the conventional one which will allow some heat to be given out and wasted. Furthermore, the thermo chemical solar power is rechargeable with heat from different sources and can be heated up as hot as 200 degree Celsius. This explains that thermo chemical solar power makes full use of heat energy and enables renewable energy produced from the Sun to work as well as heat generated from electricity and there will hardly be a case when there is not enough heat energy for home use. Fulvalene diruthenium used in this method of using thermo chemical solar power enables it to be more stable and contain more heat. However, some obstacles faced by researchers include finding a way to enable the material used to absorb heat easily and find a good catalyst that can release the heat easily. If there is much difficulty absorbing and releasing, this method will not be proved as more efficient than the conventional way.<br /><ul><li>Solar Wind Power</li></ul>To harness the solar energy, scientists at Washington State University have now combined solar power and wind power to produce enormous energy called the solar wind power, which will satisfy all energy requirements of human kind. The method of solar wind power works like this: the satellite would capture electrons very far away from the sun and this motion will produce massive amount of energy that windmills cannot do so. The energy produced by solar wind power of the satellite is ample for needs of the entire human. If possible, solar wind power will be able to be fully used when 1 billion billion gigawatts of power by using a massive 8,400-kilometer-wide solar sail to harvest the power in solar wind and this can be converted to light energy to serve many homes. From this, we can tell that solar wind power is a means of using renewable energy that can produce an amount of energy that other ways cannot possibly do that. However, this method may prove very efficient but this high technology may pose many engineering difficulties as this method is very sophisticated and complicated. Also, the distance in which electrons are captured may cause the laser used to be loose and lose track of the electrons, hence, the laser must be made really strong. Hence, it is a very effective and convenient way to harness solar energy. <br /><ul><li>Solar Energy collector </li></ul>To capture the solar energy for future use, A German Company has set up a plant in the US. These panels are easy to assemble despite them being big and bulky. There are also lots of advantages by setting up these solar tracker solar panels. The solar panel’s energy can avoid emission of 87000 pounds of carbon dioxide, which is an air pollutant. With the panels, it will not need 42,000 kilowatts of power, equal to the power need by almost four households on an annual basis. This form of energy is thus environmentally friendly. Firstly, the solar panel rests on a rotating pole. This panel keeps on moving with the sun, absorbing solar rays from the Sun. Unlike this type of panels, other stationary solar panels remain fixed to a single spot and catch any sunlight which comes in that direction. However, rotating solar panels follow the Sun’s daytime path. This results in them capturing 20 or 30% more solar energy than stationary ones. <br />In addition, parabolic trough is also a solar thermal energy collector. It uses mirror surfaces curved in a parabolic shape for the solar thermal systems. The mirrors will reflect and concentrate the sunlight on a receiver tube. Heat transfer fluid goes through the focal region where it absorbs the sunlight. This increases temperature of the oil and then used to heat steam in a turbine generator. The world's largest parabolic trough facilities consist of nine plants producing 354 megawatts of power at peak output. The 30 MW plants each have about 10,000 modules with each module comprising 20 mirrors. An optical evaluates the alignment of mirrors in parabolic trough power plants so as to allow solar energy to be collected. <br />Discussion<br />Due to availability and sufficient space provided for solar panels, the use of solar energy has increased drastically. Anyone would be able to spot solar panels on the roof of private houses. This is not of much surprise as solar panels provide long term help to both the buyer and to the world as well. Furthermore, much sunlight is available in many countries, especially in tropical countries like Singapore. It is undeniable that much research and effort have been put in the area of solar energy. Costly high technology has been used to improve conventional solar panels on Earth, as well as to improve solar energy produced from satellites in space, where lasers from satellites are used to capture electrons. Also, researchers are coming out with effective and convenient ways such as combining natural resources to make use of the solar energy and turning them into electrical currents. These will have a huge impact on the future of our next generation and researching into ways to turn solar energy into electrical current for a green environment is developing. Hence, it will definitely be of greater help than using biofuels, wind power and other renewable energy sources, which may not be present in such a large quantity at all times. <br />Conclusion<br />Despite the great advancement in the research and commercialisation in the ways of utilizing solar energy and converting it into electrical current, there is still a long way to go in terms of technology. At the same time, there are also many benefits that we can gain by making use of solar energy. Firstly, solar energy is clean, renewable and sustainable, thus, it will help to protect the environment. Moreover, it will not emit carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide etc into the atmosphere, hence, not contributing to global warming. It will also continue to convert electricity in the event of a power outage. On the other hand, solar energy has got its disadvantages. Solar energy requires more cost to be converted into electrical current compared to non-renewable utility-supplied electricity. In addition, the production of solar energy will be affected by the presence of clouds or air pollutants. Reports have shown that the energy we get from all of the world's reserves of coal, oil and natural gas can be matched by just 20 days' supply of sunshine. However, according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2007, renewable sources such as wind energy, solar energy etc combined only account for around 1 percent of the world's electricity generation. Also, the International Energy Agency (IEA) mentioned that the solar power's contribution to the global energy supply is only a merely of 0.039 percent. In conclusion, as non renewable sources are predicted to be used up by the year 2250, researchers have been coming out with ways to make use of natural resources as it allows us to save cost and at the same time, protecting the Earth. Through utilizing the solar energy using more effective ways and converting it into electrical current, we will be able to capture and store the energy for future use. Who knows, solar energy may be the one that takes up the largest percentage of the World’s electricity generation. <br />References:<br />Rachel Oliver for CNN, “All About: Solar energy” October 01, 2007<br />http://www.physorg.com/news98469930.html “New invention to make parabolic trough solar collector systems more energy efficient” May 15, 2007<br />http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/solar-tracker-solar-panels/ “Solar Tracker Solar Panels” March 19th, 2011<br />http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/mit-thermo-chemical-solar-power/ “MIT Breakthrough: Thermo-Chemical Solar Power” November 3rd, 2010<br />http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/solar-wind-power/ “Solar Wind Power: Generating Power In The Future” October 18th, 2010<br />