Concentrated Solar Energy: A Dream more than a Century Old

May 16, 2012

From Earth an Operators Manual.

The idea of concentrated solar power is 100 years old: the journey from Philadelphia in the past to the Sahara in the future.


11 Responses to “Concentrated Solar Energy: A Dream more than a Century Old”

  1. […] background-position: 50% 0px ; background-color:#222222; background-repeat : no-repeat; } – Today, 5:43 […]

  2. MorinMoss Says:

    Now that’s a pioneer – pulled up stakes and moved halfway around the world back when it was a trip of a week or more to a foreign desert where hardly anyone spoke American.

    I hope to see his dream become reality long before I reach a century.

    This EarthTheOperatorsManual channel is great – thanks for introducing us to it.

    Another one of the vids I found inspiring is the one about renewable energy in Alaska

  3. otter17 Says:

    I recall the Saturday morning I spent watching some of these PBS videos… very good stuff. Showing it to others.

  4. Martin Lack Says:

    If we can crack the problem of super-conductive materials (i.e. make them work at room temperature), there will be nothing to stop international transmission of electricity (other than short-sighted obstruction by fossil fuel executives still stuck peddling 19th Century technology and environmental destruction).

    • MorinMoss Says:

      And we might figure that out along with fusion and bring on a glorious 4th Reich but we don’t need to wait for more miracles.
      We need to get started – now.

    • ahaveland Says:

      Electricity is transmitted internationally already over HVDC, and its efficiency is surprisingly high, even over 2000km! It doesn’t have to worry about inductive, capacitive and radiative losses that AC suffers from.


      In the 50-60 Hz frequency band, we are probably the brightest source in the galaxy!

      The link between Iceland and Scotland will be good news – finally plentiful Icelandic geothermal energy can be shipped to Europe and help to further reduce CO2 emissions.

      The many proposed links across the Mediterranean will make the Sahara a viable location for massive solar generation, and using HVDC this energy could be exported *worldwide*. FF consumption could plummet in response – no wonder Big Oil is so edgy.

      Why doesn’t Big Oil just diversify and use their muscle to make it happen quicker? Perhaps it is too rational for the we’ve-always-done-it-like-this people to grasp, but I think light bulbs are beginning to go on in the minds of some. BP at least is making some efforts to be greener, but I still wonder how much is PR and window dressing.

      Change presents new opportunities and challenges and doesn’t have to be bad. Oil is running out, and ever more desperate, destructive and expensive methods of recovery such as raping and cracking tar-sands is not a sensible way forward, for the local environment nor for our global one. It’ll all end up in the atmosphere and the oceans instead of where it should be – left alone.

      Doctor, it hurts when I do this…
      – then stop doing it!

      • Martin Lack Says:

        Both I and MorinMoss should consider ourselves duly educated – thank you.

        It is sad to see that you agree the Fossil Fuel Lobby seem intent on putting their own short-term self-interest ahead of the long-term interest of the planet. Do they not have any children and/or grandchildren?

        With its investment in hydrogen cell powered transport, Iceland will probably become the first zero emissions country in the World so the idea that it will link up with Scotland is very exciting.

  5. Ron Mayer Says:

    We need a Manhattan Project for Hydrogen to go along with these cookers. Hydrogen can be used in internal combustion engines, gas furnaces and stoves, even air conditioners and it’s right now. Electricity has the huge hurdle of battery technology that may never produce a really good battery at any price, but getting one that doesn’t cost more than the car that carries it could be a century away. Hydrogen is right now, nothing that has to be invented. It has to be at least national, because no company can afford to put in place the gas stations. But if they – the government – build it, the industry will catch up with conversion kits for gasoline engines and furnaces, barbecues and stoves and probably a few things I haven’t thought of. Cheap and clean and one hundred percent -recyclable and it’s right now. In fact electrolysis was a couple of centuries ago.

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