The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: How do we convert sunlight into energy?  (Read 2852 times)

Lekale

  • Guest
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« on: 19/05/2009 23:30:04 »
Lekale asked the Naked Scientists:
   
In layman's terms please explain how we convert sun power to electrical power. What exactly are we capturing form the Sun and how does it become electricity?

What do you think?


 

lyner

  • Guest
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #1 on: 21/05/2009 16:03:02 »
A photon of sunlight comes along and knocks an electron out of its place in the junction between two semiconductor materials in a photo diode. The electron (or at least another one) can't get back down so it finds its way back into the original position by flowing around the circuit and giving up its energy to the lamp / calculator / battery, etc.
A water 'analogy': It's a bit like running a water wheel by throwing stones into a reservoir and splashing water up into a higher reservoir; the water runs down via the wheel and does work.
A single solar cell will only produce a fraction of a volt, so they connect several in series, in an array, to produce a useful voltage (say, 12V).
« Last Edit: 21/05/2009 16:07:28 by sophiecentaur »
 

Offline Raghavendra

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 835
  • Quantum
    • View Profile
    • Raghavendra
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #2 on: 02/06/2009 08:07:23 »
 The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
   So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1451
    • View Profile
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #3 on: 02/06/2009 18:14:26 »
The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
   So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..


what??

Anyway, there is also the method of using mirrors to focus a large area of sunlight onto a boiler, which boils water into steam which drives a turbine.
 

Offline Yomi

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 548
  • HERE IN AM TO TAKE AWAY THE NOBEL PRIZE
    • View Profile
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #4 on: 02/06/2009 18:19:29 »
The waves which travel in random direction, back sustance is a good option to catch the light rays...
   So, using electronics, we can make the energy flow through the uncharged particles..

Raghavendra you don't need waves which to be moved in given path here is plan to produce heat through sun's radiation another method is by using the concept of black body radiation in which the focus are painted in black colour so that it can absorb more radiation and produce even more heat
 

Offline Madidus_Scientia

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 1451
    • View Profile
How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2009 18:56:17 »
Quote
Raghavendra you don't need waves which to be moved in given path here is plan to produce heat through sun's radiation another method is by using the concept of black body radiation in which the focus are painted in black colour so that it can absorb more radiation and produce even more heat

What? black body radiation refers to the thermal radiation that a black body emits.

The boiler is black, yes, but it isn't just black paint, they use 'black chrome' which is a complex composite of metallic chrome and Cr2O3.
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

How do we convert sunlight into energy?
« Reply #5 on: 02/06/2009 18:56:17 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums