Solar Wind Energy: A Combination for the Future

During the past few years there have been a number of reasons to turn away from conventional energy sources such as coal and oil. 

You may recall hearing about the Massey coal mine explosion in West Virginia that claimed the lives of 29 miners in 2010. 

Or the Transocean’s Deep-water Horizon Drilling rig gulf crisis that almost destroyed the Gulf of Mexico.  

And that is just in the United States. 

Around the same time as the Massey Coal Mine explosion, the Wang Jialing mine in China was flooded killing 36 miners. 

Solar Wind Energy

Using solar power and wind power together is the direction the world is taking.

Because of all the problems that come with coal and oil it is no surprise that solar wind energy is on the rise. 

Wind energy is now the world's fastest growing energy source. 

Leading the way on this energy evolution is Germany, Denmark, and Spain.

They are currently producing up to 25% of their energy using the power of the wind. 

The United States trails behind with only 1% of their total electricity being produced by wind.

And, this is in spite of the fact that the US has a wind energy potential estimated at around 10, 777 billion kilowatt-hours, which is double the electric power being generated using conventional methods (see article: Offshore Wind Energy: America's Struggle to Keep Up)

In the past few years there have been some exciting innovations in the solar wind energy field. 

Most notable may be the MIT breakthrough in the process of storing electricity in a fuel cell for use while the sun is not shining.

This is what Anne Trafton of MIT News said about the solar wind energy breakthrough:

"Homeowners could use their solar panels during the day to power their homes, while also using the energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen for storage. At night, the stored hydrogen and oxygen could be recombined using a fuel cell to generate power while the solar panels are inactive."

In other news, the emergence of low-cost thin-film solar, the rapid evolution of concentrator photovoltaics, and the increased capabilities of thermal solar concentration systems, the solar energy industry has begun to shine brightly.

Recent innovations that will have significant impacts on the energy industry include:

  •          IBM’s Concentrator Solar Cell: The problem of overheating the solar cell has always held back the progress of solar concentrators. IBM has developed a way to cool solar cells using the same technology used to cool computer chips.
  •          Researchers Anna Dyson and Michael Jensen of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a concentrator lens with concentric grooves to focus the light and heat on solar chips the size of postage stamps.

  •          Solar cells made of "nano flakes," developed by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, use a pure crystalline structure that doubles conversion-efficiency levels.
  •          Prism Solar developed solar cells that use holograms to divert less-useful sunlight away from solar cells, thereby increasing conversion efficiencies.

Another solar wind energy technology that is gaining ground in Europe is offshore wind energy. 

Right now Europe is the only place on the planet with operational offshore wind turbines. 

Europe increased its use of off shore wind energy fivefold in the last decade, with Germany and the UK leading the way. 

In America, a new plan to create a wind turbine farm off the Atlantic coast is being pushed. 

It’s being called the “Atlantic Transmission Line”, and according to the founder of Chesapeake Climate Action Network , it represents "a serious, functioning dean-energy infrastructure the likes of which the country's never had.”

Related Articles:

The Innovators: Top Wind Energy Companies

Free Solar Panels Via the Feed-in Tariff?

The Alternative Energy Future: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Tomorrow

Offshore Wind Energy: America's Struggle to Keep Up

The Alternative Future: Renewable Energy for a Sustainable Tomorrow

The Innovators: Top Wind Energy Companies

Wind Energy Jobs: A Evolution to a Green Society

Explore Wind Energy Information

Wind Energy Information: 7 Facts About the Growing Wind Energy Revolution

The Global Wind Energy Generation: Here and Happening

Disadvantages to Wind Energy and the Endangered Species Act

What is Wind Energy for Your Home?

European Wind Energy Communities Represent the Future

History of Wind Energy: Humanities Quest for a Sustainable Future

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