Friday, May 1, 2009

Solar ponds

The sun is the best renewable energy source available to the mankind. Renewable solar energy is the most abundantly available alternative energy source on this planet.

A new way of trapping renewable solar energy is by using solar ponds. Solar ponds are solar collectors built on a large scale that have an integrated heat storage capability that can be used to provide thermal energy. In ordinary water ponds the sun’s rays heat water which rises upwards and loses the heat it possesses to the atmosphere. Therefore the pond water remains at an atmospheric temperature. A solar pond does not allow water to rise upwards by dissolving salt in the bottom layer of the pond. This makes the water too heavy to rise upwards.

The renewable solar energy pond has three zones. The topmost zone is called the surface zone or the Upper Convective zone. This zone has a small salt content and is at atmospheric temperature. The bottom most layer or zone has the maximum salt content and is called storage zone or Lower Convective zone that collects and stores solar renewable energy in the form of heat.

The middle zone is known as the Non Convective zone. At this layer, the salt content increases as the depth increases and vice versa. This zone acts as an insulator and permits sunlight to reach the bottom most layer or storage zone and keeps it trapped there in the form of renewable solar energy.

Solar ponds can be constructed economically in any area and can be designed to use the renewable solar energy in an effective manner.

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