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1.

2. As I mentioned earlier, energy appears in nature in several forms.

3. We humans make energy work for us by converting it from one form to another
form.

4. Let's consider fossil fuels.

5. How are fossil fuels converted into other forms of energy?

6. I will illustrate that in the following simple diagram.

7. By burning fossil fuels roughly 90% of the chemical energy is converted into heat.

8. Using heat engines, thermal energy can be converted into mechanical energy.

9. Heat engines have a conversion efficiency of up to 60%.

10. The far majority of the current cars and trucks are based on this principle.

11. Mechanical energy can be converted into electricity, using electric generators with
an efficiency of 90%.

12. This shows that in all process steps of making electricity out of fossil fuels, at least

13. 50% of the initial available chemical energy is lost in the various conversion steps.

14. Chemical energy can be directly converted into electricity using a fuel cell.

15. The most common fuel used in fuel cell technology is hydrogen.
16. Typical conversion efficiencies of fuel cells are 60%.

17. A regenerative fuel cell operates in the reverse mode and converts electrical
energy

18. into chemical energy.

19. Such an operation is called electrolysis, and the device operated in such a mode

20. is called electrolyzer.

21. Typical conversion efficiencies of hydrogen electrolyzers of 50-80% have been


reported.

22. Another route of making electricity is based on an alternative 'fuel' , nuclear


energy.

23. Nuclear energy is the energy generated in nuclear fission reactions and generates
heat as well.

24. This can be converted in electricity using the just introduced heat engines and
electric

25. generators.

26. Next, we will look at alternative energy conversions, which are not based on fuels.

27. Hydroelectricity is one example.

28. This potential energy of rain water falling in mountainous areas or elevated
plateaus

29. is converted into mechanical energy using dams.

30. Using so-called tidal pools, the potential energy stored in the tides can also be
converted

31. to mechanical energy and subsequently electricity.

32. The kinetic energy of wind can be converted into mechanical energy using wind
mills.

33. Finally, solar energy can be converted into electricity as well.

34. If solar light is directly converted into electricity using devices based on
semiconductor

35. materials, we call it photovoltaics.

36. Photo means light and voltaic means electricity.


37. Typical efficiencies of most commercial modules are in the range of 15 to 20%.

38. Solar light can also be converted into heat. This is what we call solar thermal
energy.

39. Examples are: heating of water flowing through a black absorber material

40. that is heated in the sunlight.

41. This heat can be converted into electricity again using heat engines.

42. As the conversion efficiency of heat engines strongly depends on temperature,

43. concentrated solar power systems are used to generate electricity through solar
heating

44. using so-called high temperature collectors.

45. Next to generating heat and electricity, solar energy can be converted into
chemical energy as well.

46. This is what we refer to as solar fuels.

47. This is possible by using photovoltaics and regenerative fuel cells, but solar light
can

48. also be directly converted to fuels using photoelectrochemical devices.

49. This means we can convert solar energy into electricity, heat and chemical energy.

50. In weeks 2 to 5, we will discuss the photovoltaic conversion.

51. In week 6 we will discuss the solar thermal and the solar fuel route.

52. Renewable energy sources are energy sources that are replenished by natural

53. processes at a rate comparable or faster than its rate of consumption by humans.

54. Consequently, hydro-, wind- and solar energy are renewable energy sources.

55. Fossil fuels and nuclear energy are not renewables, as their fuels are consumed
faster

56. than they are generated in nature.

57. From all the energy sources based on chemical, thermal, nuclear, hydro, wind,
solar, and

58. geothermal, roughly a third is being used to generate electricity.

59. Electricity is a form of energy that can be easily and cheaply transported with
relatively
60. small losses through an electric grid.

61. We might not realize it anymore, but electricity has made today's modern society
possible.

62. It is a symbol of modern life and progress.

63. Electricity has been practically used for more than 100 years now.

64. Electricity provides us the energy to cook food, to wash, to do the laundry,

65. illuminate the houses and streets, watch TV, aircondition and heat,

66. work on computer and surf on the internet.

67. The access to electricity determines the living standard of humans.

68. We must realize that around 1.2 billion out of the 7 billion people worldwide still do

69. not have access to the electricity grid.

70. The electricity worldwide is mainly generated from oil, coal, gas, nuclear and
hydropower.

71. Here, we see the relative contribution of these sources to the global electricity
generation in 2007.

72. 65% of the electricity is coming from fossil fuels, where coal is the dominant
contributor.

73. Unfortunately, coal produces roughly two times more carbon dioxide per generated
unit of

74. energy in reference to gas.

75. Nuclear is responsible for 16% of the world's electricity generation and hydropower
is

76. with 19% by far the largest contributor among the renewable energy sources.

77. In the conversion from chemical and nuclear energy to electricity, two thirds of the
energy is lost.

78. One third ends up in the form of electricity.

79. 40% of the electric energy is used for residential purposes and 47% is used by
industry.

80. 13% is lost in transmission.


81. As you can see, in 2007, transport did not play a significant role in the electricity
consumption.

82. However, it is expected that transport related electricity consumption will increase
in the

83. coming decades, as well.

84. In 2007, 20200 TWh of electricity was generated world-wide.

85. If we consider a 0.5 GW nuclear power plant, it means we need around 5000
nuclear plants

86. around the world if our electricity needs would be fully covered by nuclear power.

87. Realize that sources for electricity generation might differ from country-to-country.

88. For example, In the Netherlands, electricity generation heavily depends on the
local gas resources,

89. whereas in Brazil hydro-electricity is the most important resource.

90. In the last hundred years the human kinds energy infrastructure heavily relied on
fossil fuels.

91. We are quickly using the solar energy of millions and millions of years, converted
into chemical

92. energy by the photosynthetic process and stored in the form of gas, coal and oil.

93. How did we do that before the industrial revolution?

94. The main source of energy back then was wood and biomass, which is a secondary
form of

95. solar energy.

96. The energy source was replenished in the same characteristic time as the energy
being consumed.

97. In the pre-industrial era, human kind was basically living on a secondary form of
solar energy.

98. I am not claiming that this energy consumption was a fully sustainable way of
living.

99. We have to take in mind that deforestation due to increasing population density
was already

100. playing a role at the end of the first millennium in Europe.


101. The sun has been the energy source for all the processes on the surface of
our planet.

102. Wind is a result of temperature difference in the atmosphere induced by


solar irradiation,

103. waves are generated by the wind, clouds and rain are initially formed by the
evaporation

104. of water due to sunlight.

105. As the sun is the only real energy source we have, we need to move back
again to an

106. era in which we start to utilize the sun to satisfy our energy needs.

107. In this course I will introduce you to that technology!


WATT-PEAK AND EFFICIENCY
Two definitions explained in the video are the watt-peak and efficiency.
As an example we consider a solar module with a surface of 1.5m2 with
a power output 300Wp. Watt-peak is the power generated by a module
or a device under Standard Test Conditions. As will be discussed in
detail at the end of this week Standard Test Conditions correspond to
light irradiance of 1000Wm−2 with a spectral shape equal
to AM1.5spectrum. So under STC conditions the module would give a
power of 300W.

The efficiency is the fraction of solar energy converted into electrical


energy, under STC. The efficiency of a solar cell is given by:

Efficiency=PoutPin
So the above panel has an efficiency of: 20 %.
PRACTICE QUESTION 1.3.1

(2 puntos posibles)
The power output of a solar module at STC is 250Wp with an area
of 2m2, while the spectrum provides 1000W/m2 under STC.
How much radiation power does the module receive in watts (W)?
300
incorrecto
2000
20000

What is the total efficiency of the module in %?


25
incorrecto
12.5
12.5

EXPLANATION
Since you have an area of 2m2 and an irradiation of 1000W/m2 ,

it means that the power we put in the module

is 1000W/m2∗2m2=2000W .

Therefore the efficiency is:

Efficiency=2501000∗2=0.125,12.5%