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By griphonman
For some time we have had the ability to manufacture huge lenses. We also have computers and software that could make this idea happen. For a prototype, why not construct a large glass lens maybe 12 feet in diameter. Mount it about 30-50 feet above the ground. The base would be round and by computer be able to move round and up and down; tracking the sun 365 days of the year.

The intense heat created by this large magnifying glass could be focused on some hybrid turbine and or steam generator. I imagine it would spit out a lot more heat than windmills. If it worked you could build a real big one.
By Tommahawk
Do you mean like a using a magnifying glass to intensify the ability of the solar panels to produce electricity? Because a magnifying glass can take channel the suns rays.
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By FlatTop808
And how many of these huge lenses have you seen in your life? Not many, I would guess, just the ones in big telescopes. Why is that? Because they're expensive as hell!
How about this:
take a bunch of flat (i.e. cheap) mirrors and put them on computer controlled mounts.
focus all of them on a tower with a steam turbine in it.
get electricity that still costs more than coal, natural gas, or nuclear(!)
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By Michael D. Grissom
Great link on the subject FlatTop! I'll drop the main image here for those who don't like to do all that technical reading.

I still like the solar>focus>steam method simply because it's non-polluting and not dangerous -- especially for those who can't afford or don't have coal, oil, gas, or nuclear but, LOTS of sun and water. But then, who cares when fission is just around the corner?

Now,......... why do I get the erie feeling FlatTop is going to slam-dunk a fission link in here? hmmmm
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By FlatTop808
"But then, who cares when fission is just around the corner?"

You mean fusion, yes? I wish it were just around the corner. Fusion has the potential clean, plentiful, renewable energy. Plus, it would be cool just to know it could be done. I just read that the US is going to rejoin the international fusion research project that it dropped out of a couple of years ago. (I would drop a link in here but I can't remember the name of the project. Anyone else know?) Maybe in my lifetime.
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By Michael D. Grissom
No,.. I actually did mean Fission which, if achieved, would make all of our fuel needs from common sea water. Many still think Fission is as impossible as time travel and anti-gravity so, I was using "... just around the corner?" to be funny. I personally believe that Fission is possible. There's a great explanation with great graphic animations of Fission at: ... ssion.html
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By FlatTop808
We rounded the fission corner 60 years ago. Fission is the process used in current nuclear reactors. Fission is the splitting of atomic nuclei.
Fusion is combining two nuclei to make a new atom and release energy. This is what stars do, and what scientists are trying to do on earth. ... qtime=0507

I too believe that its possible to achieve this and hope it happens in while I'm still around to see it.
By joshuamillertx
I personally think the new fuel cells they are currently builing using "waste hydrogen" mixed with Carbon Dioxide is the best bet for now. It is alot safer than splitting atoms. It is also environmentally safe as the waste is pure water, so pure that astronauts drink the water while in space, as alot of the ships currently use this technology. You can find alot of information at nasa's website.
By fatstrat
woah Grissom got schooled... thats a first. lol 8-o
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By Michael D. Grissom
yup,..... GAHILTCH!!!,... I done gotsd it backards!

Thanks for catching that.

I now know that I've had the two reversed in my mind ever since I heard about that fusion experiment on the dining room table that didn't quite pan out. Now I'm going to have to practice all year to UN-reverse them in my mind.

I still have sort-of the same problem with INTROVERT and EXTROVERT. Just when I though I had them right for 20 years, a group of school teachers told me that the definitions reversed somewhere in the 80's. NOW they say that an INTROVERT gets all their energy from within themselves (outgoing personality) and an EXTROVERT is just the opposite. Reversed again? I'm still not sure.

Here's another one; during my elementary grade years in England, I consistently got hammered (red marks) for improperly using THEY and THAY. I was repeatedly told that THEY is used when referring to PEOPLE and THAY when referring to THINGS. It took me about 15 years to drop THAY after returning to the US in 1959. Since then, I have questioned many people from the UK and NONE have ever heard of using THAY for anything in the English language. Has anyone out there ever heard of THAY being a proper spelling in past history somewhere? This has been bugging me for years!
By Jim10
Michael...I looked up "thay" in my giant 2,000 large paged: Websters Enc. Unab. Dictionary of the Enl. Lan. and nothing, zip, nada. It would be interesting to see if it is in the O.E.D.
By Daryl666
flattops idea with the mirrors actually has been done i am not sure where but it looked pretty cool to have a large almost bowl like thing covered with flat mirrors all pointed at a single sphere on the top of a tower in the middle
By Derek
Couldn't you have a solar panel at the bottom? Basically you'd have the mirrors to direct the light to a central spot, with a solar panel right on top of where water was stored. Then the light would heat up the water, still reach the solar panel and create electricity, as well as create the steam, which can be used to power a turbine or whatever to create electricity.
By Daryl666
in the solar plant i saw they didn't use water directly they used molten salt at the top of a tower. which then was used to boil the water to drive the turbine to generate the power it was essentually a large bowl of mirrors which adjusted their angles all day to focous a lot of light on a single point at the top of the tower. the problem with a solar panel behind it is that it takes a large ammount of energy focoused on 1 point to melt the molten salt but solar cells cannot be used under those conditions and the thermal transfer meidum (the salt in the tower) is not very clear (in fact the main wat to get heat out of the sun is to back the collecter with a thermally conductive material that is black because the color black absorbs more energy) and does use most if not all of the avaliable energy from the solar energy pointed at it.
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