By John Lawrence
This article is based on an excellent book by Tom Rand: “Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit - 10 Clean Technologies to Save Our World.” It contains great information at a reading level that even an elementary school child can comprehend. And there are many superb pictures too. It is a wonderful resource in the numerous technologies that are in the process of ridding the world of fossil fuels – some of them hardly known to the literate public. At least I wasn’t aware of them, and I consider myself somewhat knowledgeable about global warming and what we can do about it. He identifies ten different technologies. We will devote an article to each of them. Part 1 will deal with solar.
Most everyone is aware of solar panels. The sun provides the earth with an enormous amount of energy which we are learning how to convert into energy to power our cars and our homes. A square yard of desert absorbs as much energy over a year as you can get out of a barrel of oil. In fact a barrel of oil contains energy from the sun that was absorbed millenia ago and stored as fossils. An area of desert the size of the state of Connecticut absorbs enough energy to replace the entire oil output of the OPEC countries. The technology to convert this energy to power output useful to humans is available today.