Spinning out Kilowatts

The dawning of a brave new world order of all-powerful, robust energy may be right around the corner, and it’s a game changer.

Solar-power may be on the brink of an incredible discovery so thrilling it nearly takes one’s breath away! Indeed, this new solar blockbuster may solve many of the world’s climate change problems… Exhale! But, it is still too early to know for sure, and similar to all good things that happen on a large scale, it will take time.

Meanwhile, fossil fuel energy appears old, tired, and archaic, especially when compared to sleek, glistening solar-power, which is leaping forward, gaining traction all across the planet. Consequently, the Earth may not spin out of control because of anomalous climatic conditions. Imagine that!

By its very nature as it fades into the sunset, fossil fuel energy is not only tired and worn out; it is also shamefully out of context in the snappy, trendy world of high technology. As for one example among many, compared to Google Glass, fossil fuel is a Jurassic-look alike!

A Quantum Leap Forward

Meanwhile, a new R&D company, V3Solar, has innovated a brand new solar design that may knock the socks off current solar technology, maximizing the sun’s energy by generating twenty times more electricity out of the same amount of solar cells, which, in and of itself, is mind-boggling. (Twenty times anything is big; for example, try multiplying your salary by twenty.)

V3Solar’s innovation has the potential to establish a brand new course for the world stage of renewable energy and, along the way, help eliminate dirty fossil fuels. Even better yet, with some enhancements, this could lead to the extinction of fossil fuels; thereby, displacing the extinction of animal species because of fossil fuels. That’s big!

The Energy Collective (TEC) claims V3Solar’s revolutionary product could be a “game changer.”

Furthermore, V3Solar has finished testing its initial prototypes, which, knock-on-wood, met their anticipated performance metrics. ((Source: Greentechmedia.com, February 2013.))

And, as the world turns with any compelling new product design, there are plenty of naysayers, who generally know nothing… these Know Nothings of the world are found all over the Internet. However, whenever product is in the R&D stage, the best advice is to wait until the product actually comes to market before critically blabbing on about it.

Here’s how this marvelous new design works: V3Solar’s technological edge involves spinning, not the exercise type of spinning, mind you, but yes, it involves a Spin Cell that rotates, reminiscent of the old-time playground merry-go-rounds that caused so many scraped knees amongst school children. The Spin Cell, because of its rotating design, absorbs the equivalent of thirty suns from one sun whilst its spinning effect also self-cools its own solar panels, thereby eliminating a common solar energy problem of excessive heat damage to solar panels.

To actually watch a V3Solar Spin Cell prototype spin for one minute, plus eleven seconds.

Henceforth, the solar world is no longer flat. It is conical, assuming V3Solar’s nifty device works as advertised, and get this, it lowers the costs of solar enough to compete with big energy in a big way, at three times less expense than current solar. This alone is game changing.

Prototypes of V3Solar’s technology have clocked in at a cost of eight cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This noteworthy super-duper low cost comes as the result of the remarkable efficiencies of spinning cone-shaped solar panels. If this holds true, V3Solar’s low cost structure, which is rumored to go lower yet, will be a bone-crusher for the tired, old, archaic fossil fuel exploitation/production industry.

Around the world, electricity costs per kWh are (as adjusted to US dollars and utilizing purchasing power parity): (1) India- $0.19 (2) China- $0.11 (3) Mexico- $0.15 (4) Canada- $0.08 (5) Russia- $0.17 (6) USA- $0.12 (7) France- $0.16 (8) Japan- $0.19. ((Source: IEA, EIA, National Electricity Boards), Lindsay Wilson, The Average Price of Electricity, Country by Country, The Energy Collective, Sept. 25, 2013.))

The brilliance behind V3Solar’s design comes from common sense perception gained through the study of nature, which itself generates lots of power via spin of all kinds, e.g., (1) electrons spin, (2) hurricanes create enormous power by spinning, (3) black holes are identified by just two fundamental characteristics, mass and spin, (4) tornados spin like crazy, (5) remember (?) the centrifugal force of the merry-go-round spin and (6) the pinnacle of spin is the galaxy itself, which is a gigantic spinning apparatus. Ipso facto, since spin works so well in nature, why not in natural energy production as well, and voila! V3Solar’s Spin Cell may become a very, very, very big deal, revolutionizing electricity production; meanwhile assisting, in a very big way, to eliminate the destructive emissions of fossil fuels.

As for V3Solar’s technology, “Reinventing the array could usher in a new age for solar,” says Erik Sofge. ((The Energy Fix: Reinventing The Solar Array, Popular Science, June 11, 2013. )) As it goes, the world energy market may become solar’s oyster in a big dollar way because the energy industry is a $6 trillion affair; whereas, solar is still only a minuscule $100 million subset.

Looking ahead, if V3Solar successfully navigates from prototype to commercial production, fossil fuel energy will end up flat on its back, gasping for breath, similar to the dinosaurs that fell prey to an anomalous changing climate 65 million years ago, thereafter, in deathly fashion, blending into gooey pools of fossil fuel remains from hundreds of millions of years beforehand.

Renewable Energy is Already on the Move

But, wait; the solar story gets even better because the industry is already starting to get its ‘running legs’. For example, Electric Light & Power/Powergrid International, as of Sept. 30, 2013, says solar is now outpacing wind energy. This year will be the first time ever that the vivacious, bright sun beat out the ole windbag in new installations, even after both wind and solar both broke records last year.

As such, a premature swan song for oil and gas is not entirely out of order, because, over time (very quickly now), renewable technology gets less and less expensive while, over time, fossil fuels become more and more expensive.

Regarding solar costs in general, since 2008, the price of photovoltaic modules fell 60%, which for the first time puts solar power on a Levelised Cost of Energy (LCOE) competitive basis with conventional energy. ((Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.)) This remarkable achievement over such a short period of time brings solar to the forefront of an expanding list of locations around the world.

However, solar and wind power still suffer from the stigma of inconsistency of power generation, of not being able to meet the 24/7 challenge of electricity power demands. After all, there is no sunlight at night. But, there are innovative ways that solar can overcome this stigma, and as a matter of course, V3Solar claims to have a prototype solar/wind device for 24/7 power generation, day and night.

Meanwhile, here is an example of one of many alternatives to achieve of 24/7 round the clock renewable power: Assume an industrial-sized mock solar power plant is in operation — During the daytime, in addition to providing electricity to homes and businesses, its solar provides power to pump water from a lower elevation lake to a higher elevation lake where the water is stored until after the sun sets. Thereafter, the sluices open, and the water drains from the upper lake to the lower lake, turning turbines, similar to the Hoover Dam, creating electricity, until the following morning when sunlight hits the photovoltaic panels once again, and the process starts all over. Voila! No fossil fuels used to generate electricity on a 24/7 basis. It’s 100% hydro and solar clean energy.

This example of 24/7renewable energy is one of many possibilities that could deal a knockout blow to fossil fuels, which is only a matter of time and which increasingly looks like tomorrow, day after tomorrow.

Solar Energizing the World

Solar produces electricity in latitudes as far north as the southern tip of Alaska. For example, ultra overcast, cloudy Germany (in the same latitude as the southern tip of Alaska) currently produces more solar-powered electricity than 20 nuclear power plants… thanks to enlightened political leadership.

Also, in Germany the price of solar panels has fallen 66% in recent years, and its cost of solar-generated power is projected to be less than coal within the next few years. Already, twenty-two percent of Germany’s power is from renewables of which twenty-five percent comes from solar. By way of comparison, solar power accounts for less than one percent of total U.S. electricity.

As an aside, and as for one more sorry example of America’s embarrassing problem of naiveté of all-things-science, Fox News, in a February 2013 broadcast, discussed Germany’s solar success, when it occurred to host Gretchen Carlson to ask her expert guest, Fox business reporter Shibani Joshi, why Germany’s solar-power sector is doing so well.

Carlson asked, “What was Germany doing correct? Are they just a smaller country, and that made it more feasible?”

Expert Joshi replied, “They’re a smaller country, and they’ve got lots of sun. Right? They’ve got a lot more sun than we do…” sure, California might get sun now and then, “…but here on the East Coast, it’s just not going to work.”

Fact: Germany’s direct solar energy is equal to Alaska’s, which is far and away the lowest direct solar energy in all of the U.S. Furthermore, the New York/Boston/Washington, D.C. corridor is a sunny tropical isle compared to Germany, which is north of Newfoundland.

The Future: Renewable Energy sans Govt. Subsidized Fossil Fuels

Environmental organizations in America like 350.org comprise a big part of opposition to the biased energy policies in America where hundreds of billions of dollars in governmental subsidies go to the coal and gas and oil industries.

International Energy Agency (IEA) chief economist Faith Birol, in 2011, said the current $409 billion equivalent of fossil fuel subsidies are encouraging a wasteful use of energy, and that cuts in subsidies is the biggest policy item that would help renewable energies ($66 billion in subsidies) get more market share and reduce CO2 emissions.

This past spring 350.org campaigned for world leaders meeting at the Rio Earth Summit to start dealing with the issue of fossil fuel subsidies, but as usual, the attendees, many of whom are (evidently) weak-kneed political supplicants of the fossil fuel industry, failed to accomplish anything.

According to 350.org, “The Earth Summit in Rio has come to an end – with a fizzle, not a bang. World leaders have once again failed to deliver an agreement that has the strength or ambition we need to rise to the challenge of the climate crisis,” 350.org, June 25, 2013.

The Era of Effete Leadership sans Climate Concerns

As of today, the world’s leadership has timidly avoided serious policy decisions to avert climate change problems and disasters. This one fact is extraordinarily powerful and irrefutable evidence of a failure of strong leadership across the entire world, which should be labeled the “Era of Effete Leadership,” the antithesis of the fabulous Progressive Era in America, circa: 1890s to 1920s with its firm belief in science, technology, expertise, education, and mankind’s ability to improve the environment — notice any differences compared to today?

However, today, the climate’s problems are spread all across the globe for anybody and everybody to see. As such, the abject failure of the world’s leaders to come to grips with an impending extinction event is incomprehensibly bewildering for the future of all humanity; thus, “effete leadership” is appropriately named.

It is no secret that the planet is sickly, but this is an issue easily shoved aside, year after year after year, by political operatives as a problem for tomorrow, not today; however, the future is now because there is no gainsaying the ocean’s slow motion death march as it is already embedded within the seas, or the glaciers melting all around us, or methane ominously stirring, or CO2 at its highest level in millions of years, as fossil fuel emissions saturate the planet.

“Here Comes the Sun” (the Beatles, 1969)

Nevertheless, long before fossil fuel deposits formed because of decomposing plants and animals, which happened pre-dinosaur, the sun served as the caretaker of the solar system, and now it may continue in an even bigger role by bringing forth the cleanest and the brightest source of energy directly to every light switch in every home all across the world via solar energy, hopefully, from sources like V3Solar’s Spin Cell. And, as luck would have it, high technology and human ingenuity may bail out the world’s politicians from the biggest jam in history,

Henceforth, solar will likely slam the door shut on the 100-year-plus ordeal with fossil fuel, which has drained hundreds of millions of years of decomposed plant and animal ooze as feedstock for a revolution, the industrial revolution, which evolved into a massive capitalistic heist of every resource imaginable, undermining the socio/economic progression of humankind by a throwback to the day of serfs, peasants, villeins, servants, and yeomen… with a smattering of nobles.

It is almost unbelievable that, over time, human ingenuity has vigorously and smartly technologically progressed to Google Glass and Solar Spin Cells while, at the same time, socio/economic class distinctions have digressed to a pre-technology era. This is the strangest and most contradictory ‘human progress’ in all of history, going all the way back to the olden days of real aristocrats… and everybody else… and, one day wearing Google Glass.

Postscript: “The solar-power market offers perhaps one of the greatest opportunities among its clean-tech peers. Not only is the worldwide solar market growing by 30% to 50% per year, but the same technologies that enabled the semiconductor and computer revolution are now being leveraged in the solar market.” ((Ron Pernick and Clint Wilder, The Clean Tech Revolution (Publisher-Collins).))

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com. Read other articles by Robert.