Photosynthesis Fuel from the

We can harness solar energy in a lot of different direct ways, as we have seen already in this book. We can use the sun to meet our requirements for heat and electricity. Sometimes, as we saw in Chapter 17, we need energy sources that are portable and lightweight for powering cars, for example, and for transporting energy to sites where it is not appropriate to use solar energy directly. One way in which we can harness solar energy, is to produce plants that we can turn into fuels. Remember,...

The origin of photovoltaic solar cells

None of this would be possible if it hadn't been for the work of French Physicist Edmund Becquerel, who in 1839, discovered the photovoltaic effect. In fact, Becquerel is a bit of an inspiration for young Evil Geniuses wanting to experiment with solar energy, as he made his discoveries when he was only 19 In 1883, Charles Fritts, an American inventor, devised the first practical solar cell, when he took some selenium and covered it with a fine coating of gold. His cell wasn't particularly...

Siting your panel

You might want to heed the guidance given in some of the other chapters in this book on correctly siting your solar panel. Furthermore, you want to ensure that your solar panel is correctly insulated and protected against the elements. The waterproof solar panel showcase in Figure 9-3 is ideal and furthermore, looks attractive. Don't hide your panel, proudly display your solar credentials, make it a part of the feature, as shown in the solar fountain at CAT (Figure 9-4). In order to keep things...

Taking it further

You don't have to use this simple circuit just to move a solar panel, you can think of ways to move any of the solar projects presented in this book. You might want to move a solar cooker for example. The motor used in the circuit might only be small however, you can use gearing to enable it to move larger loads. We only want slow motion from our motor anyway, so slow movement is ideal. If you want to explore more sophisticated solar-tracking devices, here are some links to hobbyists pages...

Other methods of generating hydrogen

There are also a number of other proposed methods for generating hydrogen from solar energy, which, although we are not going to examine them in detail here, are certainly of merit. In fact, at the moment, most hydrogen is produced using a process known as steam reforming. This takes fossil fuels and combines them with steam, which disassociates the hydrogen from the carbon, However, do not be fooled This process still leaves a whole lot of carbon dioxide to be gotten rid of. At the moment,...

Solar cell technologies

There are a number of different technologies that can be used to produce devices which convert light into electricity, and we are going to explore these in turn. There is always a balance to be struck between how well something works, and how much it costs to produce, and the same can be said for solar energy. We take solar cells, and we combine them into larger units called modules, these modules can again be connected together to form arrays. Thus we can see that there is a hierarchy, where...

Solar Projects on the

Hopefully, this book has provided an interesting primer on solar energy. I rather hope that I have empowered you with the tools to go onwards and create your own solar inventions, powered by clean green energy. To help you on your way, and provide inspiration, I have compiled a list of projects, articles, and inspirational solar tech stories that I have rooted out for you on the web. This should provide creative inspiration for your own sustainably powered designs. All of these sites seem to be...

Solar Heating

Vacuum Solar Kollektor Drawing

The sun provides us with heat and light that is essential to life all year round. One of the most efficient ways of harnessing the sun's energy is to use it to space heat our buildings, and produce hot water for our daily needs, such as washing, cleaning, and cooking. When you think about the truly tremendous amount of heat that the sun produces, it seems absolutely ridiculous that we should want to burn our precious fossil fuels to heat things up. We can use the sun to directly heat our...

Www.scienceconnection.com Tech Advanced.htm

One school of thought advocates positioning your solar panels on a fixed surface such as a roof, positioned so as to harness as much sun as possible on average over the year. This approach certainly works, but as we saw in Chapter 3, the sun is not a fixed object in the sky it moves, and so this approach is not necessarily the best. One other solution is to actively track the sun using a device such as the trackers shown in Figures 14-1 and 14-2. What this entails is using motors, hydraulic...

BEAM robotics

BEAM Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics robotics differ from traditional robotics in one important respect whereas conventional robotics tends to employ a central processor and some software to dictate the behavior of the robot, BEAM robotics has a different approach. The robotic behavior is governed by simple circuits which interact with each other in defined patterns. The great news is that all of the above is available in a kit from Solarbotics. Check out www.solarbotics.com for...

Positioning Your Solar Devices

Solar Clock Sundial

It is important to note that the position of the sun in the sky changes from hour to hour, day to day, and year by year. While this might be interesting, it is not very helpful to us as prospective solar energy users, as it presents us with a bit of a dilemma where exactly do we point our solar device The ancients attributed the movement of the ball of fire in the sky to all sorts of phenomena, and various gods and deities. However, we now know that the movement of the sun through the sky is as...

How does a Fresnel lens work

To understand how a Fresnel lens is constructed and works, we are going to need to do a little thought experiment. Picture this. You have a glass lens which is flat on one side, and round on the other. We are now going to use a tool to remove material from the center point of the lens. The tool has a flat end. We are going to remove material until the corners of the flat-ended tool just begin to penetrate the round surface. We are now going to use another larger tool to remove material from a...

Contents

Foreword by Willie Nelson Acknowledgments 3 Positioning Your Solar Devices 17 Project 1 Build a Solar-Powered Clock 20 Project 2 Build Your Own Heliodon 22 Project 3 Experimenting with Light Plate Collector 31 Project 5 Solar Heat Your Swimming Pool 33 Project 6 Useful Circuits for Solar Project 7 Solar-Powered Ice-Maker 42 Project 8 Build a Solar Hot Dog Cooker 46 Project 9 Build a Solar Marshmallow Melter 48 Project 10 Cook Eggs on Your Driveway Project 11 Build a Solar Cooker 50 Project 12...

Parabolic dish concentrators

Concentrator Solar Parabolic

Dishes are great for concentrating dispersed energy to a focal point. Take a look at any residential neighborhood, and you are bound to see a menagerie of dishes the state flower of Virginia sticking out of the side of houses everywhere What do you think these dishes are doing Acting as concentrators They take the waves emitted from satellites far above the earth's surface, and concentrate them into a focal point which strengthens the signal. Similarly, you might have seen some of the world's...

Solar vehicles

At the moment, solar cars aren't really practical for you and I to drive about in simply too much surface area is required to mount the solar cells. 4J Also, some method of storing the solar energy M needs to be employed for when your car goes into O a tunnel or the sun hides behind a cloud. Even so, solar vehicles such as the Honda Dream shown in Figure 15-1 are an interesting demonstration that fl Check this website about solar vehicles for some iH cool information it is possible to produce a...

Project Build Your Own Solar Powered Torch

Msp430 Solar Schematic Garden Light

1x AA 600 mAh NiCad battery 220 k 4 W carbon film resistor 100 k 4 W carbon film resistor 91 k 4W carbon film resistor 10 k 4W carbon film resistor 560 R 4 W carbon film resistor 2x 3.3 R 4 W carbon film resistor C9013 NPN transistor C9014 NPN transistor C9015 PNP transistor 300 pF ceramic capacitor 100 nF ceramic capacitor CdS photocell 47 k 10 lux In lists of made-up useless things, solar-powered torches seem to come out somewhere at the top. After all, what use is there for something that...

Project Build a Solar Bird Engine

Make Radial Solar Can Engine

Happy Drinking Bird won't be so happy when we are finished We are going to have to kill a bird to execute this project luckily the bird in question is Figure 12-1 The Drinking Bird in its box. Figure 12-1 The Drinking Bird in its box. a cheap toy from the Far East, so our consciences are clear The Happy Bird, Happy Drinking Bird, Drinking Bird, Tippy Bird, Sippy Bird, Dippy Bird or any one of a number of ridiculous names is a cheap novelty toy Figure 12-1 . It is also a serious scientific...

Free Energy Charger Circuit

Usb Solar Charger Circuit

Figure 13-4 Solar-powered phone charger schematic car charger. Figure 13-4 Solar-powered phone charger schematic car charger. Figure 13-5 Solar-powered phone charger schematic USB type. Figure 13-5 Solar-powered phone charger schematic USB type. Project 3M Build Your Own Solar-Powered Radio Ferrite rod antenna 60-160 pF variable capacitor BC183 transistor 10 nF capacitor 0.1 mF capacitor x 2 470 pF capacitor 220 R resistor 1 k resistor 100 k resistor x 2 10 k potentiometer Speaker PV cell A...

Project M Build Your Own Solar Airship

Homemade Solar Air Heater

Solar airship tube 8 m of thin plastic tube This project is one of the most ridiculously simple projects in this book, yet it is also one of the most visual and almost counterintuitive. You might be under the misapprehension that to get things into the air you need sophisticated jet engines or rocket thrusters. Certainly if you have The kit for this project is well worth the spend, if only for the enormous scale of the airship it is a massive 8 meters long. However, if you want to experiment,...

Hint

If you have access to nitric acid, you can use this as a superior method for removing the upper cupric oxide layer. You will see a black crusty oxide form on top of the copper plate. If you leave the plate to cool slowly, the crusty layer should become fairly fragile and separate easily from the underlying copper. When you have allowed the plate to cool thoroughly, give the plate a firm bang edge-on to a hard surface. Some of the oxide will pop off. Rub the oxide gently with your fingers under...

Where can I get a Fresnel lens

How Make Fresnel Lens

Here are a few ideas for procuring a Fresnel lens, both second hand and new, cost varies widely Car reversing lenses are a great source, like those pictured in Figure 8-18, these are often fairly small with a fairly coarse lens, but will certainly do the job and provide many fun hours of experimentation Fresnel lenses are often sold in small credit card or slightly larger sized flat plastic printed versions in bookshops. They are often sold as a bookmark, which doubles up as a text magnifier...

Photosynthesis experiments

In the following experiments, we will be analyzing the solar-driven processes that happen in plants, to produce usable products which we can burn as biofuels. The process which we have explored already, is called photosynthesis. Sugarcane, rapeseed, and other crops which are generally used to produce biofuel are a bit big, hard to manage, and unpredictable. For this reason, we will be modeling the production of biofuel crops using a small, more manageable plant salad cress mustard. To give you...

What is a fuel cell made up of

Perforated Stainless Steel Columns

If we were to take a fuel cell to bits, we would see that it is mechanically very simple. Take a peek at Figure 17-2. We can see that the fuel cell has two end plates. These are used as a casing for the fuel cell. They help contain the internal elements furthermore, they provide an interface to the connection for hydrogen and oxygen gas. Next up are the electrodes. These are the pieces that allow us to tap off electricity. They are Figure 17-1 Fuel cell technology focus. Figure 17-1 Fuel cell...

What does it take to solar power my home

Producing electricity by photovoltaic cells is fairly expensive compared to other types of generation. However, when considering the cost of solar energy, figure in all of the carbon emissions that you aren't producing, and the toxic waste that you aren't making. We now know that solar cells can be used to generate electricity, but the problem is getting it in a form that we can use in our homes. Sure, it is possible to run a few simple bulbs from a DC supply, but to run most of our household...