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Carbon Dioxide

CO2 a.k.a. Carbonic Anhydride,
molecular weight 44.01,
crit. temp 31 C, crit. press. 73.7 bar

 CO2 is a colorless gas of characteristic irritating odor.  It is a product of respiration, and the complete combustion of all carbon containing compounds.

  Whether or not CO2 is the evil that some folks claim it is or simply a raw material for photosynthesis is not the issue.  Tests show that the concentration of this atmospheric component has increased since the beginning of the industrial age this fact is not in dispute.

  A quick calculation using the following assumptions and the basic unit of power production for a single Solar & Thermal 2KW bi-panel yielded the following results:

Typical Solar Insolation  800W / m2  (10:AM to 2:PM)
Peak Noontime Insolation  980W / m2 (local solar noon 40 deg N lat)
Panel Energy  2794 KWHR / year / panel (annualized up to 56 deg N lat)
CO2 avoided  6425 lbs (based on burning coal -> 2.3 lb/kWh)

  Each bi-panel is approximately 12' by 22' and can produce from 2200-2500 watts of electric power depending on where it is installed.  The value of the power is ~ $1.25 based on $166/MWh avoided cost.  That translates to a payback of just 5 years.  If you look closely, you'll notice we based these cash estimates on what we consider to be worst-case averages.  Typical Solar Insolation is what you'd expect on an average nice day, we've included a 20% margin for the typical cloud coverage.  The Peak Noontime Insolation is a safety factor for the equipment design.  You know those severe clear days in late May when the sun is so bright you feel it in your back teeth.

  A commercial system will consist of batteries of bi-panels.  To keep things in perspective, 10 bi-panels would make one "bleacher" and 10 bleachers would make one "stadium"*.  A typical big-box store could accommodate a stadium of panels, and that would eliminate 6.5 million pounds of CO2 per year.


* The "stadium" as used here should not be confused with the ancient Roman unit of distance the "stadia" (defined as 125 passus) Approx 608 modern feet. Similar to cable and furlong.




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Updated: 09/11/10 19:34