Oct 15

Mighty Humans are Actually Quite Puny

What if we could design a solar cell that borrows energy from the future? Sort of a time-warpy thingamajigger.

It’d be quite the surprise to put an ammeter to a solar cell only to find out that it is producing more energy than is falling on its surface, a lot more. And even weirder, it would still produce energy at night when no solar radiation is falling on it at all.

How could that possibly be?

Because it’s borrowing energy from the future, that’s how. Ha Ha.

This is a concept I’m going to exploit in another learning outcome novel I’m going to write…

So in this future world, NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) activists come out to protest its use, naturally. They say, “We are ruining our kids’ and grandkids’ future by stealing their sunlight!”

Hmm.

Well, how bad is it going to be? What will the sun look like in a 100, 1,000 or a 1,000,000 years? Noticeably dimmer? 

Actually, no.

I looked at the sun’s current annual output. It’s around: 

image

ergs per second.

[source: https://helios.gsfc.nasa.gov/qa_sun.html]

That’s equal to:

image

terawatts.

That’s a big number.

Earth’s primary energy supply in 2014  was 155,481 terawatt-hours according to, http://www.economist.com/printedition/specialreports?story_id=.

Now if earth “stole” one million years of current (2014) earth’s primary energy supply from the future, that would represent:

image

of one year’s energy production of Sol.

To put that in perspective, Space.com reports that Sol is a very stable producer of energy, viz:

The sun is a constant star when compared with many others in the galaxy. Some stars pulsate dramatically, varying wildly in size and brightness and even exploding. In comparison, the sun varies in the amount of light it emits by only 0.1 percent over the course of a relatively stable 11-year-long pattern known as the solar cycle, https://www.space.com/19280-solar-activity-earth-climate.html.

This means that if humans did borrow energy from the sun’s future over the next million years, it would only amount to about a third of the sun’s normal variance over its 11-year cycle, a trivial amount I suspect.

@ Quantum_Entity

Note: this blog post is for entertainment purposes only. 

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