Found an alternative to fossil fuels




Found an alternative to fossil fuels

solar energy

The combustion gas is released nearly twice less carbon dioxide than combustion of coal, but the amount of emitted greenhouse gas atmosphere is still large. The device, which is engaged in the development of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), can help to reduce emissions by 20 per cent due to conversion of natural gas into synthetic gas (alternative fuels with a low carbon content) using solar radiation.

The new technology eliminates interruptions that occur in the system of solar panels, whose performance depends on weather conditions and time of day, resource writes Technology Review. Synthetic fuel produced by the device can be stored and used as required for a stable supply of electricity, which is generated from the synthesis gas.

The ultimate goal of the project is to provide the population with electricity costs 6 cents per kilowatt-hour. For comparison, the cost of energy derived from the combustion of coal is in the range 5-10 cents per kilowatt-hour. In turn, the new solar collector IBM , is able to produce energy cost less than 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Scientists hope that they have developed a system will significantly reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

solar syngas

As in the case of IBM HCPVT, concentrator solar heat here is a parabolic mirror. The resulting heat setting provides the energy required for the conversion of methane into synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. When heated water generates steam, which is then treated with methane, the main component of natural gas. The method used in the petroleum refining and other processes.

Synthesis gas produced by the reaction of steam with methane can be burnt at refineries to generate electricity. From the synthesis gas can also be produced as a liquid product in the diesel fuel. The latter is particularly important for countries wishing to reduce oil imports. However, the benefits associated with greenhouse gas emissions, are not entirely clear. Researchers have yet to figure out how the thus obtained synthetic liquid fuel is safer for the environment than petroleum. The fact that the conversion of synthesis gas into liquid fuels is allocated a certain amount of carbon dioxide.

While this method does not provide a complete reduction of the emission of carbon dioxide, it is more practical and attractive than other fuel technologies with solar heat – says the head of the program «Sunshine to Petrol» Sandia National Laboratories (USA), James Miller, is not taking part in the project PNNL.

Miller, in turn, develops technology convert carbon dioxide and water in the diesel fuel. However, it requires the use of new technology materials expends a lot of energy and time.

A potential advantage of the new technology is the ability to choose which products to produce – electricity or liquid fuels. Generate electricity in this way more effective than doing it directly, using solar panels, – said the author of the project PNNL Robert Vegeng.

The first prototype installation was able to accumulate 63 percent of the solar energy received. The combustion of fuel in the refinery for about half of this energy will be released in the form of heat, lowering the overall efficiency of about 30 percent. But even in this case the efficiency of the system is twice higher than that of conventional solar batteries. According to scientists, in the near future to store solar energy in the form of chemical bonds in the synthesis gas will be cheaper than batteries.

Nevertheless, in its current form, the system can not compete on cost with fossil fuels. Researchers continue to work on increasing the efficiency of toplivogeneriruyuschey installation and lower production costs. It is planned to increase the operating temperature, improve the design and materials of the system.

Earlier this month, California-based Spectrolab announced new efficiency record for solar cells .
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