On the way to the ultimate source of energy: Solar sails in space - blessing or curse for our planet?
On the way to the ultimate source of energy: Solar sails in space - blessing or curse for our planet? (credits: Pixabay / AdisResic)
Engineers come across strange ideas every day, which they then grapple with mentally. Sometimes you learn something new, sometimes you realise it's nonsense. Often these ideas are not fully developed. In this case too?
I am writing here about a topic that at first glance seems like the ultimate solution to all of Earth's energy problems - provided it is technically and economically feasible. Solar sails in space produce energy extremely efficiently. There, the ambient temperature is low, there is undisturbed sunlight in any quantity around the clock. This is an optimal microclimate for photovoltaics. The energy can then be transmitted to Earth via microwaves. Although work is still being done on implementation, there are already initial successes. It would be a wonderful form of energy generation. But is it really so?
If we look at the earth as a closed system (like a thermos flask, then the thermodynamics become easier to understand). The Earth's atmosphere, with its high proportion of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, is already causing too little energy to be radiated into space. The melting of the ice caps and glaciers is making the situation even worse.
Now we are supplying this system, the "thermos earth", with additional energy from space. In principle, we are pointing a giant burning glass at the good old Earth. We know from school lessons that energy is not simply consumed, but continues to exist in another form - mostly as heat. So if energy is introduced into the Earth's system in the form of heat and this heat cannot leave the system again, the heat on the Earth continues to increase. So is this a lost cause? I'm afraid it is.
If there were a way to radiate the heat into space in a targeted way - possibly the reverse way - this could have positive effects. However, this would be too expensive for commercial use. It could, however, serve as a "food for thought" for this last solution.
Opinion: Manfred König
World Tunnel Congress 2023 – the major tunnelling event concludes in Athens with three announcements
The World Tunnel Congress 2023 was successfully concluded in the city of Athens, Greece. The culmination of a week full of meetings, discussions and work on underground activities. Placed under the angle of the expanding underground, 2147 people celebrated and contributed to the advancement of tunnelling, to innovate, to project solutions for the public space and the citizens around the world.
- Wire from global provider Dahrén will help reduce the CO2 footprint from ABB electromagnetic stirrer manufacturing
- Supply chain deal builds on ABB’s recent successes of purchasing recycled or low-carbon copper for use in its products
- The stock of copper originates from Swedish mining and smelting company Boliden, a long-term and trusted partner of ABB
Femern A/S has prequalified four international consortia in the competition to build the electrified railway in the Fehmarnbelt tunnel to Germany. The contract has an expected total tender price of approximately DKK 1.5 billion and focuses on climate-friendly solutions during construction and in operation.
LKAB is today submitting an application for a processing concession for the Per Geijer deposit in Kiruna. Since the discovery was reported as Europe's largest known rare earth oxide deposit earlier this year, further investigations have been carried out.
GeoResources Journal 3-2023 is dedicated to the main topic areas of mining, tunnelling, geotechnics and energy, as well as the special topic: Focus on fairness and skilled workforce....
Skilled professionals in our geotechnical, tunnelling, mining and raw materials sectors make an important contribution to sustainable and fair living conditions....
Inspections of Flexible Protection Systems against Natural Hazards – Using and passing on Special Knowledge
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14.12.2023 - 15.12.2023
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