Paper: An Analysis of the All Life on Earth on the Energy of the Sun

The actual energy that can be used depends on the efficiency of the collector and of the device that converts the radiation into usable energy. Flat- plate collectors. The most common flat-plate collectors consist of a dark metal plate, covered with one or two sheets of glass, that absorbs heat. The heat is transferred to air or water, called carrier fluids, that flows past the back of the plate. This heat may be used directly or it may be transferred to another medium. Flat-plate collectors are used for home and hot-water heating. Flat-plate collectors typically heat carrier fluids to temperatures ranging from 150B0 to 200BO0F. The efficiency of such collectors varies from 20 to 80 percent. Concentrating collectors. When higher temperatures are required, a concentrating collector is used. These collectors reflect and concentrate sunlight from a wide area. One such device, called a solar furnace, was installed in the Pyrenees in France and has several acres of mirrors focused on a single target. The energy concentrated at the target is 3,000 times that received by any single mirror, and the unit produces temperatures of up to 3,630BOF (2,000B0C). Another structure, the so-called "power tower" plant near Barstow, California, generates 10,000 kilowatts of electricity. Here, the furnace acts as a boiler and generates steam for a steam turbine-electric generator power plant. In sophisticated concentrating collectors such as the California tower, each mirror is rotated by a heliostat that directs the sun's rays from the mirror to the target. Positioning motors, drives, and controllers make such systems expensive. Less costly collectors can produce temperatures lower than those of more advanced concentrating collectors but higher than those of flat-plate collectors....