May 2008

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From your lips to G-d's ear, Scott.

Joshua Ungerleider

Great Scott, you've just given every anti-Semite a reason to continue hating Jews even after they solve the world's energy crisis.

"They saved the world, but just to spite the Muslims"

jerry w.

Exactly what percentage of credibility should be given to a self proclaimed

"oh-my-God moment" that happens to come from an atheist?

Not that there's anything wrong with that idea.


That could occur if and only if these new solar panels catch on in most or all of the world's top oil-consuming nations, including the USA. And I predict that while all of the nation's top pot-consuming citizens will buy them, few if any others will for quite a while.


I bet John Hagee was involved...

In all seriousness though, I'm not sure if that would really solve the problem so easily. If all those mid-east countries felt their power being quickly taken away, they might act just as quickly and wreak mass havoc, especially upon Israel. I would think the change would have to be quite gradual in some form for their to be no serious side effects. And even then, anything that puts it in a win/lose situation (where Israel wins and the others lose) could lead to those side effects regardless of the speed.


I can't see how it will stop people from strapping bombs to themselves (or strapping bombs to mentally challenged people) and taking a walk to the local gathering.

How does this stop rocket attacks? What would prevent those countries that has all this cash from taking advantage of the new technology and making even more money from it?

I think you are drinking your own kool-aid there, Scott.


I love it! Now, shape the solar cells like ants and send out an army of 5-year olds with magnifying glasses and we can make this an American success, too.


In WWII Britain was getting spanked by the Germans until the the wily Brits invented radar and gave themselves a second chance.

In WWII Britain broke the German codes to give themselves another chance.

Your Isreali prediction is inspired, but I worry the analogy breaks down because Isreal is not getting bombed right now. Their engineers are not living in bunkers, feverishly working 20 hr days to keep armies from their doorsteps. I think its that kind of mentality that is required to make a breakthrough invention like that. I hope I'm wrong.



I hope your prediction is right. Who better than those who live in the desert regions to develop a method of power production from sunlight?
One day depletion of the oil fields, as well as shortaged of other materials being heavily used in out current society will require groundbreaking developments such as this. We will continue to grow and develop, just in a different way.
Maybe it won't be all bad, instead of moaning and groaning about what we don't have, we may begin to be grateful for what we do have.

Beatrice M

But, Israel doesn't have a lock on the sun. All those oil producing neighbors get a lot of sun too. They could use the technology too (granted Israel sells them the licenses) to produce energy. But, you're right, it would decimate their massive income. The main question is how to store, and then sell, the solar energy that is produced.


Scott, There is a lot of energy in crude and it is cheap to refine and access. That's why for all the various forms of alternative energy (except nuclear fission), the price of crude has to remain high over a long horizon for it to make any sense to consider investing in it. Solar probably has a viable niche in peak energy generation in hot climates on hot days and where small amounts of portable electricity are needed. US companies like SunPower are already within 1/3 of the theoretical efficiency limits of solar. There's no magic about energy economics, which is what makes all the attempts of visionary policy the folly that they are.


I wish the U.S. would invent alternatives to oil. Then we could be the OPEC of the Green Age.


The science looks promising, and if it works like it's supposed to, your prediction could very well come true.

Personally, I would install these at my house, enough to power my entire house. If that works well, then I would install some more and trade in my car for an electric car to plug in at night. I would keep my minivan at first for longer trips, (since the demand for gas would go down, so would the price) but probably not for long if the technology holds out.

Now, I don't understand some of the technobabble that is in the article, but there have been a few articles like this posted in the last year, so one of the companies has to get it right.

I would welcome the change to one of clean, renewable energy, partially eliminating the need for more coal or nuclear power plants. It would be a definite bonus for homeowners to regulate their own power, but I don't see businesses, malls, office buildings, apartments or industrial complexes jumping on the bandwagon anytime soon. If the local power companies were smart, they would jump on this, start generating lots of cheap energy, and lower their prices so people would not think of installing their own.

Gustaf Sjoblom

Added incentives might just work enough in their favor to achieve this. You might well be right in your prediction.


High efficiency cells combined with fresnel lenses are nothing new, I had some production samples from the '80s. The restraining issue with this system becomes producing high quality fresnel lenses that can handle long term environmental exposure for cheap, and that hasn't happened yet. So they've traded one problem for another, adding another branch to the pipe dream.

Mark Thorson

You can't run an electrical
grid on solar power alone, or
even more than about 15% solar
in your energy mix. That's
because you don't control the
clouds, and you need to have
sufficient operating reserve
to keep the grid running when
the solar array suddenly goes

Solar doesn't compete with oil
because almost no electricity
is generated from oil. Oil is
used mostly for transportation
because that pays more. The
fossil fuels used to generate
electricity are natural gas
and coal -- coal for meeting
base load and natural gas for
meeting peak load.

rita mae

Part of the article you cited said:

[SUNRGI says it can multiply that by four because it has a system to instantly cool its germanium-based semiconductor from 3,300 degrees to 20 degrees above ambient temperature. High temperatures can melt a solar cell.]

Without reading it clearly, I thought "Wow! Geraniums are better than I thought! I will grow more this year, instead of Marigolds."

Then I realized it was "germanium" which is "a lustrous, hard, silver-white metalloid chemically similar to tin. Germanium forms a large number of organometallic compounds and is an important semiconductor material used in transistors. It is named after the country of Germany."

Wow! Scott! I learn something new everyday on your blog.

I am happy. Soon we will all be heated and cooled with the help of germanium. Wonder if it smells like a flower? Wonder if the Germans wear them in their lapels?

Rita Mae


Sadly, Solar won't replace many other aspects of oil, such as plastics and fertilizers... but this is grand news regardless.


No, they can't. The also need to develop BATTERY technology.

Oil is MOSTLY used for transportation, not electricity generation.

Transportation requires ALOT of energy... more than the amount of solar energy striking the surfaces of a vehicle at any given time. So, without proper battery technology to provide the extra power to make up the difference..... Solar power alone cannot make oil uneconomical.

So, if you were to say "Israel needs to come up with an oil-independent transportation solution," I wold agree with you. Solar alone doesn't cut it, however.


Real Live Girl

Or you just gave the Middle East another reason to wipe Israel off the map?

Miky Schreiber

Hey Scott,
As an israeli I can tell you that we're up to this idea for a long time. One of the main reasons we working so hard on the alternative energy's stuff is because it will help us in my future.
So - Go & Buy hybrid cars!

Jacob Share

Well, yes and no. Killing the oil market would definitely have a massive impact on the terror sponsors such as Saudi Arabia and Iran but then the media would kick in and say that us destroying their economy will create even more terrorists.

Billy Arvia


From the article:

[They also claim that PS I generates a stable charge separation in 200 ns across 6 nm of protein to generate an electric potential of 1 V with quantum efficiency of 1 and absorbed energy conversion efficiency of 47 percent. A further advantage of PS I is said to be its transparency to infrared radiation, which eliminates the need for expensive cooling equipment.]

I haven't a clue what this means but I bet at least one commenter will question this claim and give an equal amount of mumbo jumbo to prove their point.


I don't like Israel much, being born and raised as Pakistan, I sympathize with Palestine and consider Israel as occupant.


My loyalties are with any one that make fuel cheaper and environmental friendly. If Israel does it, I'll cheer with them watching middle east shaikhs go poor and environment become cleaner.

Carl Chipman

Actually, if they are smart, they'll go one step further, and make the technology available open source, no patent protection. That way, it would be impossible for anyone to suppress it.

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