Rock Melting With A Solar Furnace; It`s Melty!

Submitted by: DickenMcHunt 6 years ago Tech

The BBC visits a Solar Research facility and witnesses the incredible power generated by highly concentrated sunlight.
There are 60 comments:
Male 94
whoaaaaa.........


.....it`s a double rainbow!
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Male 12,365
On the plus side...if you look at the numbers, it`s possible on paper to meet the entire world demand for electricity a fair few times over with CSP blanketed over deserts.
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Male 12,365
Oh, and the cost per watt is a couple of times as much as it is for coal/oil/gas.

Fancy your electricity bill doubling? Tripling?
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Male 12,365
The other problem is the amount of land used.

California is a good place for this sort of thing - lots of strong sunlight, lots of land that isn`t already built on, lots of "green" frenzy.

So they`re planning on a record-sized CSP power station.

It generates 370MW, which makes it a small-medium power station.

It covers 3400 acres.

It damages or destroys fragile ecosystems.

This sort of thing is part of an answer, but it`s not the magic wonderthing some people make it out to be.

Details and a picture of a small-scale CSP tower in Spain

Good looking power station, though.
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Male 12,365
[quote]hey buddy got a light? imagine the energy you could produce using this to heat water and it could be used as hot water heater or power generator .....wow how come we aren`t using this on Mass production or plant situations ?[/quote]

People are. It`s the CSP (concentrated solar power) that I referred to earlier. It`s used to generate electricity the same way that most power stations do it - by boiling a fluid and using the steam to drive a turbine.

Making a very small area very hot is not the same thing as boiling fluid on a huge scale, though. That`s much harder and much less dramatic. You need to elevate the tank so that more rows of mirrors can focus on it over the top of the row in front of them, which quickly leads to unfeasibly tall towers. 380ft for an 11MW tower at the moment and there`s not very much scope for improving on that.
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Male 244
sunhax!
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Male 307
@k-two, No, keeping track of the sun`s position isn`t that hard. The equipment to any commercial generator is the hard part with expenses, because no one wants to take a risk loaning you money on an iffy venture.
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Male 122
@pumba62: This is being used in power plants, and has been been for a long time. It`s not that easy (or cheap) though, because the Earth rotates and you need to keep track of the sun with the mirrors.
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Male 1,016
hey buddy got a light? imagine the energy you could produce using this to heat water and it could be used as hot water heater or power generator .....wow how come we aren`t using this on Mass production or plant situations ?
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Male 730
That`s awesome
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Male 561
spambot
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Male 769
Bang Goes the Theory is an AWESOME show, (plus has the cutest scientist in the world on it) but was anybody else watching this and hoping they would bring in some gigantic irradiateed ants like in `Them!`?
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Male 55
....and then someone builds it into a weapon.
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Male 3,076
HELL yeah science FTW!!!
@Djarum pointless the answer is yes it will melt except for what chuck Norris and C. Dale Petersen touches
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Male 12,365
[quote]Oh and anyone know what this is for?[/quote]

Experiments into high temperature conditions. It`s an efficient way to generate extremely high temperatures and rapid changes in temperature. They can rig up various conditions around the furnace, so you can answer questions like "what happens if this material is heated by 1000C in 1 second in a vacuum?".

The one in the video is one of the very small ones.

The main one is outside. It`s about 200 times as powerful.
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Male 2
@LionHeart. It`s from a show `Bang Goes The Theory`.
Clicky here
Full Vid might be there, but it`s a very good show.
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Male 12,365
[quote]"I see steel melt every day"

... wow, what do you do for a living?[/quote]

He makes things. If you want a one-off machine to do something, especially for a TV program, he`s the man for the job. His background is aeronautical engineering, but he`s mainly a maker of things. He does a lot of work with metal, so that`s where he sees steel melt. Sort of like the Mythbusters people with more welding.
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Male 236
@LoofahBoy

I think the Greeks did it once. Archmides had the idea of using Mirrors to set aflame incoming ships :)
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Male 307
Time to make a new YouTube show, "Will this melt?"
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Female 282
@LoofahBoy Giant Magnifying glass. IN SPAAAAAAAAAAAAACE!
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Male 521
Aww... too short. I wanted to see more stuff melt.
Oh and anyone know what this is for?
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Male 1,164
No Wai-Yu, the only thing that is known to do that is a deep fryer.

Or some mad baking skillz.
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Male 3,301
How can we weaponize this?
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Male 2,005
@lazyme: perhaps he knows how to weld stuff
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Male 10,440
"I see steel melt every day"

... wow, what do you do for a living?
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Male 1,083
where`s the melting rock? i only saw a smoking rock.
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Male 12,365
BigMordecai:

Transmission loss can be minimised by using HVDC lines. It`s not cheap to build them, but it is existing technology. Loss is ~5% per 1000 miles. You could build HVDC lines from massive solar power stations in hot deserts and patch them into the existing grid where needed.

Production costs can be kept down by using simpler technology, e.g. CSP instead of photovoltaic or a mix of CSP and less efficient but cheaper PV.

You`re not going to be able to power the USA from it, but it could be done on a large scale and produce a fair chunk of the required electricity much of the time, if you use a lot of land for it. Which will, of course, play hell with any local ecosystems. They`re still arguing over the Mojave desert.
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Male 12,138
Why did the voice of Grand Moff Tarkin in my head?

"You may fire when ready"
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Female 246
so umm... can it make my chicken so it`s crunchy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside?
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Male 94
Angilion has good points but I will remind people of loss of efficiency in several areas. One is in large grids, one is in maintenance another is in production. Its a simple economic fact that it becomes more expensive and costly to produce and more hard resources are required to use them as they are in less ideal areas. When we model this solar and wind power cannot be used on a large scale. Will it be usable in the future? Probably.
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Male 2,402
This would be great where a supply of light is found all day Such as desert regions. Up in the artic regions it would only be good for part time season wise. It`s freaking cool though.
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Female 68
@ 1:09
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Male 1,013
Frigging ginger haters...
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Female 1,515
you could burn a whole colony of ants at once with that!
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Male 25,416
Thats just so cool! i want one!
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Male 2,549
Dearest ozone layer,

I love you

That is all.
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Male 3,431
That`s a big magnifying glass. Sick!
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Male 1,598
That. Was. Awesome!
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Male 768
Didn`t even show the rock melting. Just a bright light :/
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Male 1,834
now put that in a gun
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Male 11,740
That`s hot yo!
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Female 1,894
haha more more more more!
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Male 174
somebody find these guys some giant ants
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Male 12,365
[quote]it does make you wonder why renwable enrgy is so difficult[/quote]

It isn`t...if you have constant very strong sunlight 24/7 and huge amounts of spare land to build the solar power stations in.

Since that can`t exist anywhere, renewable energy is difficult. Not entirely impossible, but difficult.

There are CSP power stations operating today, but they can`t provide baseload power and they can`t compete with fossil fuel power stations for cost or size or generating capacity.

We don`t control the sun. We don`t control the wind. We don`t control the sea. We need to be able to control our electricity output and we need a reliable controllable baseload.

It`s possible, at least on paper, but it isn`t easy.

The USA has vast amounts of spare land, so solar power could work during the day if you were willing to cover thousands of square miles with solar power stations. It would complicate power distribution, but it could be done
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Male 684
Nicoli Tesla...
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Male 12,365
It`s a good popular science series, one that hasn`t thrown the science part away. It helps that the presenters are qualified (only one of them doesn`t have a relevant degree and he has relevant experience).

lisalezah...there are some illegal ways to obtain at least some episodes. Streaming TV websites have some. You could probably get them from P2P. Oddly, it`s not available legally at all. Not even in the UK except for a week after broadcast. No DVD, nothing.
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Male 901
cool!
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Male 2,388
it does make you wonder why renwable enrgy is so difficult
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Male 90
I`m totally putting this on my christmas list :P
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Male 130
I want one of these. I would use it to ....well, I don`t know. But I WANT one.
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Male 2,436
I want to burn ants with it.
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Female 3,001
mental
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Female 255
I want to watch this series!
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Male 26
I need to build one of these
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Male 29
"If my hand went there, what would happen?"
"Don`t"
Sage.
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Female 2,120
It would be awesome to have one of these on my lawn to teach trick or treaters a lesson
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Male 559
whattttttt thats crazy
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Male 371
3,500 degrees...
If you put your hand in there it would disappear.
Your hand would literally evaporate.
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Male 15,510
We are all doomed
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Male 1,299
Link: Rock Melting With A Solar Furnace; It`s Melty! [Rate Link] - The BBC visits a Solar Research facility and witnesses the incredible power generated by highly concentrated sunlight.
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