Harnessing Earth's energy one day at a time. Harvesting Earth's energy one season at a time. Life on earth is sustained by the light and heat of the sun.

Concentrated Solar Power (CSP)

Another technology, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), takes a different approach to harnessing the power of the sun. Unlike photovoltaic cells, CSP uses mirrors to concentrate the sunlight on a focal point, which magnifies the suns heat. Similar to holding a magnifying glass in the sun, focusing the light onto a piece of paper until the paper catches on fire.

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Renewable (sustainable) Energy

Every day, 365 days per year, the earth is warmed by the power of the sun—the amount of solar thermal energy absorbed by the earth’s oceans in a single day is greater than the total thermal energy that could be produced by burning all of the oil that exists in the Middle East. The amount of energy that enters the earth’s atmosphere every year through solar radiation is greater than the total energy locked within all of the oil and coal that can be found on earth.

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Cellulosic Ethanol

Ethanol made from cellulosic materials, rather than corn grain, renders the food vs. fuel debate moot, according to research by Michigan State University ethanol expert.

As more and more corn grain is diverted to make ethanol, some groups have become concerned about food shortages. Dr. Bruce Dale, Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) chemical engineering and materials science researcher, has used life cycle analysis tools, which include agricultural data and computer modeling, to study the sustainability of producing biofuels — fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel that are made from renewable resources.

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Energy Crops

America has more Sugar than the Middle East has oil. How can this be?

When people are asked where sugar comes from they will most likely answer: sugar cane or sugar beets, because that is what most people are familiar with. Yet, sugar is the basic molecular building block within all plant life on Earth. Carbohydrates are made of sugar molecules. All plants, including trees and grasses are made of carbohydrates, combined with lignin and a small percentage of oils and proteins (although some plants and vegetables are known for their high percentage of oil or protein, they are the exception).

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Ethanol and Net Energy

There is much discussion, or argument, about Ethanol: Does it take more energy to make it than you can get back from it?

The argument focuses on the energy consumed by the tractors and the farm equipment, the trucks that transport the ethanol to market, and the fertilizer that is made from fossil fuels, as well as the amount of energy required to extract the sugar from corn starch (or cellulosic biomass) and convert it to ethanol.

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