Ajay Srivastava Sunlight has become the fastest-growing and mature energy source with global investments exceeding two trillion dollars in the past ten years. It now makes the cheapest electricity beating coal, natural gas, and petroleum crude by wide margins. But current solar technology has a few limitations that restrict its potential to replace fossil fuels. For example, current solar technology cannot generate the high temperatures required for melting steel or making cement. This prevents solar’s industrial use. But there is good news. Multiple solar research startups have reported breakthroughs in generating higher temperatures and other areas. Research in three critical areas has the potential to make solar the dominant energy source in less than a decade. First, industry application. Existing technology is simple. Lenses and mirrors focus sun rays to produce heat. Much like the way we burn paper using hand lens and sunlight. We call this Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technique. The problem is the best CSP equipment could generate less than 1000°C of temperature – suitable for heating or making electricity but at least 400°C short for any industrial use. Cement or steel making happens in the temperature range of 1400-1600°C. This compels most industries to use the… Read full this story
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