Solar energy

A Technical Paper Presentation On


& VAMSHI CHARAN Department of Mechanical Engineering,





Alternative fuels give the solution to the present days problems with the fossil fuels. So, it is one of the most important concept on which the research & development work is going on. Alternative fuels like Ethanol & Methanol can be generated again & again are mixed up with the existing fuels without modifying the existing engines. This paper explains about the fuels like ETHANOL, METHANOL, BIODIESEL, HYDROZEN ENERGY, SOLAR ENERGY. The Alternative fuels like Solar Energy, Electrical Energy, and Wind Energy can be utilized to the maximum extent without causing any destruction to the environment.

It not only reduces the destruction of the environment, but also reduces the cost of the fuel and improves the engine's life & efficiency. Some of the Alternate fuels which are directly available in the nature like Solar Energy, Wind energy etc., can be used for generating electric power. This generated electric power can be used for running of the industries, hotels, restaurants, household activities, etc.,.

Water heaters, C alculators, etc., utilizes Solar Energy for its function. So within the near future, Alternative fuels can slowly replace the usage of fossil fuels. So increasing the utilization of the Alternative fuels to a maximum extent will benefit the mankind. In view of this, an attempt is made to study the applicability of the Alternate fuels to general applications of day-to-day life. This paper focuses on this direction.


It has been estimated that 550 million automobiles are using nearly half of the current nonrenewable petroleum demand equivalent to about 20% of the world's energy consumption. This clearly indicates that the vehicles form the predominant source of regulated and unregulated pollution.

The vehicle population continues to increase exponentially and by the year 2010 about 1.1 billion cars are expected to be in use in the world. Unregulated C arbon dioxide emissions, a prominent green house gas, will increase by 65% over the current levels due to large-scale use of fossil fuels.

However there is an urgent need to address the problems of depleting fossil fuel sources and increased green house gas emissions.

Attempts are being made at international level to address these issues and among other possible solutions, the use of Biomass, Ethanol needs special attention especially for a tropical and agriculture based country like India . Its use as a transportation fuel has been widespread in Brazil and it is becoming popular in USA .

India spends huge reserves of foreign exchange every year for importing crude and petroleum products. Sometimes it exports Molasses, which can be used to produce Alternate fuels to meet needs of our transportation sector. Based on experiences in Brazil and USA , India can develop a sustainable and viable Alternate fuel program.

Problems with fossil fuels:
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Fossil fuels are non-renewable sources of energy. Fossil fuels create large amount of pollutants which cause problems like Green house effect, Ozone layer depletion, skin cancer, etc.,. Fossil fuel's sources are available only in a few parts of the world. If there is any problem (diplomatic relations or war in the near by zone), it may result in stoppage of the fuel supply. C ost of the fossil fuels is increasing day by day. Release of the toxic substances causes health hazards.

For catering the growing needs of the society and because of the problems that are being faced due to the usage of fossil fuels and also due to its scarcity, the demand for the alternate fuels is growing day by day.

The following are the some of the alternate fuels which are capable of over coming the problems that are faced due to the usage of the fossil fuels.

Solar energy:

We have always used the energy of the sun as far back as humans have existed on this planet. We know today, that the sun is simply our nearest star. Plants use the sun's light to make food. Animals eat plants for food. Decaying plants hundreds of millions of years ago produced the coal, oil and natural gas that we use today. So, fossil fuels is actually sunlight stored millions and millions of years ago.

Indirectly, the sun or other stars are responsible for ALL our energy. Even nuclear energy comes from a star because the uranium atoms used in nuclear energy were created in the fury of a nova - a star exploding.

Solar Thermal Electricity
Solar energy can also be used to make electricity. Some solar power plants, like the one in the picture to the right in C alifornia 's Mojave Desert , there are huge rows of solar mirrors arranged in what's called "solar thermal power plants" that use this idea to make

electricity for more than 350,000 homes. The problem with solar energy is that it works only when the sun is shining. So, on cloudy days and at night, the power plants can't create energy. Some solar plants are a "hybrid" technology. During the daytime they use the sun. At night and on cloudy days they burn natural gas to boil the water so they can continue to make electricity.

Sunlight is reflected off 1,800 mirrors circling the tall tower. The mirrors are called heliostats and move and turn to face the sun all day long.

The light is reflected back to the top of the tower in the center of the circle where a fluid is turned very hot by the sun's rays. That fluid can be used to boil water to make steam to turn a turbine and a generator.

This experimental power plant is called Solar II. It will use the sunlight to change heat into mechanical energy in the turbine. The power plant will make enough electricity to power about 10,000 homes. Scientists say larger central tower power plants can make electricity for 100,000 to 200,000 homes.

Conversion rates from solar energy to electrical energy
Of these technologies the solar dish/stirling has the highest energy efficiency (the current record is a conversion efficiency of 30% of solar energy). A single solar dish-Stirling engine installed at Sandia National Laboratories' National Solar Thermal Test Facility produces as much as 25 kW of electricity, while its footprint is a hundred times smaller than the spain solar updraft tower. Solar trough plants have been built with efficiencies of about 20%. The C oncentrated Solar Power (C SP) Plant using the parabolic trough principle called the SEGS system, in C alifornia in the United States , produces 330 MW, and it is currently the largest solar thermal energy system in operation. Furthermore, Southern C alifornia Edison announced an agreement to purchase solar powered Stirling engines from Stirling Energy Systems over a twenty year period and in quantities (20,000 units) sufficient to generate 500 megawatts of electricity. Stirling Energy Systems announced another agreement with San Diego Gas & Electric to provide between 300 and 900 megawatts of electricity. The gross conversion efficiencies (taking into account that the solar dishes or troughs occupy only a fraction of the total area of the power plant) are determined by net generating capacity over the solar energy that falls on the total area of the solar plant. The 500-megawatt (MW) SC E/SES plant would extract about 2.75% of the solar power (1 kW/m²; see Solar power for a discussion) that impinges on its 4,500-acres (18.2 km²).For the 50MW AndaSol Power Plant that is being built in Spain (total area of 1,300×1,500 m = 1.95 km²) gross conversion efficiency comes out at 2.6%

Solar Cells or Photovoltaic Energy
We can also change the sunlight directly to electricity using solar cells. Solar cells are also called photovoltaic cells - or PV cells for short - and can be found on many small appliances, like calculators, and even on spacecraft. They were first developed in the 1950s for use on U.S. space satellites. They are made of silicon, a special type of melted sand.

These individual solar cells are arranged together in a PV module and the modules are grouped together in an array. Some of the arrays are set on special tracking devices to follow sunlight all day long.

The electrical energy from solar cells can then be used directly. It can be used in a home for lights and appliances. It can be used in a business. Solar energy can be stored in batteries to light a roadside billboard at night. Or the energy can be stored in a battery for an emergency roadside cellular telephone when no telephone wires are around.

Some experimental cars also use PV cells. They convert sunlight directly into energy to power electric motors on the car. Here's a picture of solar panels extending out from a satellite.

Solar Power Satellites
One suggestion for energy in the future is to put huge solar power satellites into orbit around the earth. They would collect solar energy from the sun, convert it to electricity and beam it to Earth as microwaves or some other form of transmission. The power would have no greenhouse gas emissions, but microwave beams might affect health adversely. And frequent rocket launches may harm the upper atmosphere. This idea may not be practical for another century; if at all. The picture on the right is an early and simple drawing of how a space solar power satellite would beam energy to electrical power grid on Earth.



• Ganeshan.V, Tata Mcgraw Hill publications.



C reated by Department of C SE

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