[ RadSafe ] Another recent article

Brennan, Mike (DOH) Mike.Brennan at DOH.WA.GOV
Tue Jun 5 11:15:17 CDT 2012

Back when I was in grad school I did a paper on a very cool solar thermal system, that consisted of a parabolic dish (based on a geodesic dome design) with a small boiler at the focus.  It used flat glass mirrors and mostly off the self parts, and had a concentration factor of 110 to 1.  I saw it produce superheated steam on a cloudy day.

The best use of solar thermal (in my opinion) is not big towers with acres of mirrors focused on it, using the steam to make electricity for the grid, but rather smaller projects, producing heat to use directly, in locations off the grid.  The same true for solar electric, for that matter.  The desire to have it centralized and controlled may well be the death of these technologies.

-----Original Message-----
From: radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu [mailto:radsafe-bounces at health.phys.iit.edu] On Behalf Of ROY HERREN
Sent: Saturday, June 02, 2012 3:58 PM
To: radsafe at agni.phys.iit.edu
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Another recent article


I think it's interesting that China's "investment" into solar electricity 
generation has had such a disruptive effect in the market place.  "Even as the 
project nears completion, the future of solar thermal power plants is in doubt. 
That’s in large part because prices for solar panels—which convert sunlight to 
electricity directly—have dropped quickly in the last few years, causing at 
least one company to abandon plans to build solar thermal plants in favor of 
making ones that use solar panels".  I think that it's important to remember 
that Solyndra didn't go bankrupt because of a technology failure in their design 
or product, but rather they went bankrupt because they couldn't compete on a 
financial basis with the downward spiral in the price of solar panels being 
shipped to the US from China.  Only time will tell which technology will win out 
in the long run.  I am forever reminded of the battle between and Sony and the 
other electronic manufactures over Beta vs. VHS video tape decks.  The 
"so-called" better technology lost out to the power of the majority of the 
market place.  The amusing thing is that today the consumer market for video 
tape decks is all but dead.  My but the market and the technology hawked there 
is a fickle place.  How will Nuclear Power, fission, fare in the long run?  Is 
there any chance the Chinese government can be talked into investing billions of 
dollars into Nuclear Power and thereby reducing the price of global Nuclear 
Power?  If so, would we trust the reliability of Chinese manufactured 
Nuclear Power plants?  If there is a question of trustworthiness, why are 
consumers trusting the reliability of Chinese manufactured photovoltaic solar 
Roy Herren 
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