A Planetary Thermo-Regulating System powered by Solar Energy.
This article presents the conceptual design of a modular autonomous system that uses solar power to intercept and extract thermal energy from the Oceans and increase its radiation back to space, with the consequent global cooling effect.
I will present the principles and concepts behind this invention but I will still owe the readers the precise thermodynamics calculations of the system, as it is one of the purposes of this article to reach those with the required expertise to make those analysis.
Before explaining the functioning of the solution being proposed here, we have to take a look at some details of the planetary thermal dynamics and understand a few terms; here they are:
Earth’s energy budget
Earth’s energy budget accounts for the balance between the energy that Earth receives from the Sun, and the energy the Earth radiates back into outer space after having been distributed throughout the five components of Earth’s climate system and having thus powered Earth’s so-called heat engine.
This system is made up of Earth’s water, ice, atmosphere, rocky crust, and all living things.
The term Refractive Index refers to a dimensionless number that describes how fast light travels through a material, it is also an indicator for how much light is reflected by said material, and is a very important factor that determines the efficiency of solar cells:
“ The working efficiency and productivity of silicon solar cells have been restrained because of the high refractive index of Si (η = 3.4 at 550 nm). More than 40% of the incident light is reflected and generates reflectance losses, which significantly lessens the efficiency of the photovoltaic device”
While the light that is reflected back by solar panels has a negative impact in electricity generation, this characteristic is deliberately used by the planetary Thermo-regulating system being proposed further in this article.
Albedo is the measure of the diffuse reflection of solar radiation out of the total solar radiation and measured on a scale from 0, corresponding to a black body that absorbs all incident radiation, to 1, corresponding to a body that reflects all incident radiation.
Surface Albedo is defined as the ratio of radiosity to the irradiance (flux per unit area) received by a surface.The proportion reflected is not only determined by properties of the surface itself, but also by the spectral and angular distribution of solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
Albedo is an important concept in climatology, astronomy, and environmental management. The average Albedo of the Earth from the upper atmosphere is 30–35% because of cloud cover, but widely varies locally across the surface because of different geological and environmental features.
Earth’s average surface temperature due to its albedo and the greenhouse effect is currently about 15 °C.
If Earth were frozen entirely (and hence be more reflective), the average temperature of the planet would drop below −40 °C.
If only the continental land masses became covered by glaciers, the mean temperature of the planet would drop to about 0 °C.
In contrast, if the entire Earth was covered by water the average temperature on the planet would rise to almost 27 °C.
The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa via a thermocouple. Thermoelectric devices create a voltage when there is a different temperature on each side.
Conversely, when a voltage is applied to it, heat is transferred from one side to the other, creating a temperature difference. This effect can be used to generate electricity, measure temperature or change the temperature of objects. Because the direction of heating and cooling is determined by the polarity of the applied voltage, thermoelectric devices can be used as temperature controllers.
When an electric current is passed through a circuit of a thermocouple, heat is evolved at one junction and absorbed at the other junction. This is known as the Peltier Effect. The Peltier effect is the presence of heating or cooling at an electrified junction of two different conductors and is named after French physicist Jean Charles Athanase Peltier, who discovered it in 1834\
Thermoelectric heat pumps exploit this phenomenon, as do thermoelectric cooling devices found in refrigerators.
The proposed solution to Global Warming: AWATER (Automated Water Temperature Regulator )
So far we have seen some of the concepts that will serve as a base for the functioning of an Autonomous, Scalable system that would reduce global temperatures by taking advantage of a combination of Optical and Electrothermal effects… let’s get into more detail.
Up to this point, the reader should have noticed that the temperature of our planet earth is, in general, the result of the balance between the energy received from the sun that is absorbed by the atmosphere, the planet’s surface, and the heat irradiated from the core of the planet and the amount of all that energy that is irradiated back into space after going through a certain number of transformations and exchanges.
This balance of total incoming vs outgoing energy (Albedo) is determined and affected by several factors; some of those factors can be a subject of a technological intervention, and it is the purpose of the invention presented here to modify (fundamentally) 3 of them, those being:
- Reduction of the total amount of thermal energy being absorbed by the Oceans and Planetary Surface
- Increase in total amount of energy being reflected back to space.
- Increase in the transfer of energy from the Ocean into space
We should now take a look at the specific design of the system being proposed here to understand the previous claims:
Lets look at the principles at work:
Ocean Albedo vs Solar Panel Reflection:
From what we have argumented before, and looking at the Albedo index of water, ice & snow pictured in this image, we can see that water has an index of reflection of around 6%, which means that around 94% of the light that reaches the surface of the ocean is absorbed and some of it is exchanged with the atmosphere during the nigh.
The first element in which we can intervene to reduce global warming and the rise of sea levels, is in the amount of energy that is absorbed by the sea… this energy can be directly reflected back into the Atmosphere in real time so it will eventually radiate it back into space… or stored in the form of electricity to be emitted in the night to make the space-irradiation process even more effective:
The energy captured during the day in the form of light by the means of solar panels, can be stored in batteries and be released during the night.
The release of this energy can be manipulated in different ways, and depending on the local weather conditions, allow me to get into more detail for each of those:
- Peltier Effect: The electric energy that has been stored in batteries can be used to power a Peltier device that extracts thermal energy from the sea and transfer it into the atmosphere to facilitate its posterior natural irradiation to outer space. The utilization of this mechanism can be subject to the particular local weather conditions, the presence of clouds and other factors.
- Light / Infrared light: The electric energy stored during the day can be used to power Visible or Infrared light bulbs that would expedite the irradiation of this energy back into space without it affecting the oceans and effectively lowering its temperature.
- Mechanical Energy: The electric energy generated or stored during the day can be used in real time (or not) to power the propellers of the system, effectively converting radiation into mechanical movement which would impede said energy to increase the temperature of the ocean.
- Increased Evaporation: The energy captured by the solar panels can increase the evaporation of water which would increase the total global Albedo of our planet, which would result in more energy being reflected back into space by clouds, as most of the energy would be spent in warming the surface of the sea and it would not refract into the depths of the ocean.
Now… how does this system scales ?
As the reader should have implied by now from the images of the design of this device included previously in this article, the system is though to be a swarm of devices that can connect between each other, this modular capability allows not only a flexible capacity for growth, but also for localization, and positioning.
Assuming that the total surface of each module is of 10 square meters, 1 million modules would equal 10 million of square meters of planetary surface being subject to modification.
Conclusions and goal:
The main conclusion is that we do have the power to alter the course of global warming in our planet by other means than diminishing the amount of greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere.
The goal of this article is to get the attention of those with the thermodynamic, naval design, and electrical engineering knowledge required to calculate the precise characteristics, capabilities and performance of this concept.
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