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Using solar panels to solve energy crisis in china

Using solar panels to solve energy crisis in China

By : Owen Allan, Jonathan Rodrigues , Dante Orlando

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Course code : WRIT-220-N8C

Professor : Christene Cousins

Due Date : April 18th 2019

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Fig. 1, China’s 250 acre solar farm shaped like a panda (Garfield, 2017)

Executive Summary

Electricity can be generated in many ways to power many countries around the world. However, many of the ways that countries generate power is non-sustainable, specifically China. The purpose of this report is to examine the cause and effects of China’s sustainable energy problem and to explain an alternative sustainable energy source, solar panels. This report will briefly outline outline how solar panels work and will examine how China will benefit from this technology. Non-sustainable energy is a real problem for China as their main source of power comes from burning fossil fuels and a result damages the population as well as the environment. By design, the solar panels will be able to generate clean sustainable energy for China. This is made possible by allowing light to generate a flow of electricity. Replacing China’s burning of fossil fuels with solar panels will prevent environmental damage and long term energy failure. The transition however, will require lots of time, money, and resources. Research should continue to find newer and more efficient ways of generating sustainable energy.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary……………………………………………………………………………..2

List of Figures……………………………………………………………………………………4

Glossary………………………………………………………………………………………….5

1.0 Introduction………………………………………………………………….………………6

1.1 Criteria……………………………………………………………………………….6

2.0 Fossil Fuel Plants…………………………………………………………………………….7

2.1 Consequences………………………………………………………………………..7

List of Figures

Figure 1: 250 acre solar farm shaped like a panda………………………………………Title Page

Figure 2: Photo of smog covering city…………………………………………………..Page 2

Figure 3: Solar panel…………………………………………………………………….Page 3

Glossary

Carbon – carbon dioxide or other gaseous carbon compounds released into the atmosphere, associated with climate change

Cerebrovascular disease – medical condition that impacts the blood vessels of the brain and the cerebral circulation. Arteries supplying oxygen and nutrients to the brain are often damaged or deformed in these situations.

Energy – power derived from the utilization of physical or chemical resources, especially to provide light and heat or to work machines

Fossil Fuels – a natural fuel such as coal or gas, formed in the geological past from the remains of living organisms

temperature changes and are used to make rubber and plastics and in polishes and lubricants

Generate – produce (energy, especially electricity)

Particulate matter – This mixture includes both organic and inorganic particles, such as dust, pollen, soot, smoke, smog and liquid droplets.

Renewable Energy – energy from a source that is not depleted when used, such as wind or

solar power

Selenium – the chemical element of atomic number 34, a gray crystalline nonmetal with semiconducting properties

Solar Cells – a device converting solar radiation into electricity

Solar Panel – a panel designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity or heating

Silicone – any of a class of synthetic materials which are polymers with a chemical structure based on chains of alternate silicon and oxygen atoms, with organic groups attached to the silicon atoms. Such compounds are typically resistant to chemical attack and insensitive to temperature changes and are used to make rubber and plastics and in polishes and lubricants

Sustainable – able to be maintained at a certain rate or level

(All definitions taken from Dictionary.com, 2019.)

1.0 Introduction

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The purpose of this report is to complete the required research assignment on a technical problem and solution for WRIT 220. This report analyzes how China’s main source of power comes from burning fossil fuels and how an alternative energy source could solve this problem. Solar panels are an ideal solution that uses natural light to generate energy that is sustainable. This report is organized into a into several sections. Each section includes a header with a description that will provide an analysis of the problem and solution. This report will also discuss the benefits of using solar panels as a sustainable energy source and how they work, as well as how using fossil fuels to generate energy is a problem. A glossary has been included to define specific keywords used throughout the report for the readers to use as reference. Online sources and articles proved useful in acquiring information for both the problem and solution discussed in this report.

1.1 Criteria

The criteria for recommending solar panels as the solution to China’s sustainable energy problem was evaluated based off of a checklist. To begin, this technology is able to generate clean energy that will not cause harm to the environment. Next, this power generating technology is sustainable as it converts natural sunlight into energy. Furthermore, China needs an existing technology as this process of integrating a sustainable energy source into their country. To extend, the technology must be effective and able to be produced in large numbers that is affordable. To conclude this checklist, this reports recommendation for solar panels meets all the requirements of this criteria as it generates sustainable energy, is an existing technology, and can be produced in large numbers.

2.0 Fossil Fuel Plants

Until recently China has relied completely on fossil fuels to generate their power, as their population increases their demand for power also increases and are therefore required to burn more fossil fuels which is causing further pollution to the air. The air quality index (AQI) in China “ often exceeds 300 … The world health organisation recommends below 20 as healthy (Hawkins, 2017)”. China is the largest consumer of coal in the world and has been using fossil fuels, specifically coal, to generate their power for decades. Coal is converted into energy through a series of steps beginning with the coal being transported to the plant, once the coal has arrived at the plant it is sent into a boiler to produce steam which will spin a turbine and generator therefore producing power.

2.1 Consequences

While using coal to generate power may be faster and cheaper than alternate, environmentally friendly options it has its many drawbacks once it comes to the consequences. One of the major drawbacks of using coal to generate power is the air pollution, the chemicals released in this pollution include sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter and heavy metals just to name a few, in addition this, all these chemicals in the air will often cause cases of acid rain and long term health effects including numerous respiratory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular effects/ diseases . Another consequence is climate change, coal power plants have incomplete combustion which produces black carbon is one of the biggest contributors to this factor. Overall there are more than 100 different problems that come from using fossil fuels, specifically coal to generate power.

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Fig.2 China’s Smog covering city (Hawkins , 2017)

3.0 Solar Panels

The thought and or creation of the materials made in solar panels was created in 1876 by William Grylls Adams along with a student of his Richard Day(Victoria C., 2017). They discovered that when selenium was exposed to light, it produced electricity. In 1953, Calvin Fuller, Gerald Pearson, and Daryl Chapin, discovered the silicon solar cell(Victoria C., 2017). This cell actually produced enough electricity and was efficient enough to run small electrical devices. In the year 1956 the solar cells were put into production and sold commercially, they were efficient and only had a one time cost other then repairs(Victoria C., 2017). The only problem was that they were to expensive for anyone to actually buy costing 300$ per cell and the smallest solar panel was made up of 36 of them. It wasn’t until in between the 1970’s and 1990’s that the solar cells went down in cost and started to become widely used across the world(Victoria C., 2017).

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3.1 Production of Solar Cells

[image: See the source image]

Solar Cells are made from silicone going through multiple processes. First stage is purifying the silicon, it is then turned into crystals, and then Silicone wafers. After that Electrical contacts are placed onto the solar cells, the Cells are then coated in a anti-reflective coating and then put into another cell to finish the manufacturing process.

Fig.3 Solar Cell

3.3 Benefits of Solar Panels

Solar panels have many benefits to them, one of the many benefits would be they can generate clean renewable energy. Some other benefits of this technology include they need low maintenance so you will not need to spend large amounts of money to keep solar panels functional. Another benefit of this technology is that it is constantly evolving as there are many new developments being made to improve the efficiency of solar panels. These benefits allow for countries such as China to use this technology as a solution to not having a sustainable source of energy.

3.3.1 Sustainability

Since Solar Panels are renewable energy sources they do not rely on anything to power them put the Sun allowing them to work during all hours where there’s sunlight. The only thing necessary for solar panels is the replacement of parts which only needs to be done 10-15 years into the lifespan and it only has to be done if something is wrong with it. Some solar Panels are able to operate over 30 years without needing a change of equipment.

3.3.2 Health

Not only is Solar energy good for the environment it is also good for population of China’s health. With the creation of Solar Arrays the carbon emissions in china will go down allowing people to breathe cleaner air. Currently thousands of people a year in China are getting sick or dying due to air pollution. They wear masks when ever they leave their house for fear of the toxins in the air, with the Fossil fuel plants being replaced, by solar panels, there will be less toxins in the air making a giant step in the right direction towards cleaner air.

3.3.3 Cost Considerations

The initial set up of Solar Panel is costly, but because gas and coal is no longer needed and the only thing the Solar Panel need is sunlight China will save money in the future. With the burning of fossil fuels the plants always require gas, coal and other chemicals to keep it running but with solar panels all you need are spare parts and the sun. This will also create more jobs in china because they will need people to operate and repair the solar arrays.

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3.4 Success

The Solar panel installations that are being built in china will cut carbon emissions, save the country money, allow their people to breathe cleaner air and make electricity accessible to villages and towns that currently do not have access to reliable power. With China switching to renewable energy sources and showing that it works and is sustainable it shows to other global superpowers that it is possible to do. This can lead to a massive overhaul of every country’s electrical production systems leading to a total switch from Fossil fuels to clean renewable energy. Refer to figure 1 for example of successful implementation of solar panels.

4.0 The future of solar energy

Environmentally friendly power such as solar energy from solar panels is important as it has many benefits over the more commonly used coal power plants. Solar energy uses the sun’s energy and converts it into a form of power which can be transmitted to a power grid and then distributed to anyone. Solar energy, or environmentally friendly energy is on the rise in many countries and will soon be replacing most if not all forms of non renewable energy around the globe. Potentially in the future there will be a way to produce solar cells that are more effective, cheaper to produce and cheaper to install. Therefore more research should continue to help improve the efficiency and overall cost effectiveness of using solar panels for power.

Reference sheet

1. Garfield, L. (2017, July 06). China just built a 250-acre solar farm shaped like a giant panda. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/china-panda-solar-power-plant-2017-7

We took the photo of the panda solar array because it shows how China is already successfully implementing Solar Panels into their electrical system.

2. Kane, S. (2016, February 16). Elon Musk says ‘you can easily power all of China with solar’. Retrieved from https://www.businessinsider.com/elon-musk-easily-power-china-with-solar-2016-2

This Article shows Elon Musk explaining the certainty that all of China can be powered by solar energy.

3. Mike. (2018, November 13). China Energy, Pollution, Environment facts & statistics. Retrieved from http://www.china-mike.com/facts-about-china/facts-pollution-environment-energy/

This Article talks about how China is the largest consumer of fossil fuels, such as coal and gas. It also explains how China is ruining their own environment and endangering peoples health.

4. Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/definition

This link was used for definitions.

5. China’s battle to breathe. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2017/03/china-s-battle-breathe

This link talks about the air pollution in central cities.

5. Forsythe, M. (2018, August 07). China Aims to Spend at Least $360 Billion on Renewable Energy by 2020. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/05/world/asia/china-renewable-energy-investment.html

This Article talks about how China plans to switch over to renewable energy.

6. Kejun, J., Woetzel, J., Energy Research Institute of China’s National Development and Reform Commission., & McKinsey Global Institute. (n.d.). How China is leading the renewable energy revolution. Retrieved from https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/08/how-china-is-leading-the-renewable-energy-revolution

This article explains how China plans to switch to renewable energy and how they are the first major country to do so.

7. “Wind Energy Could Power China, Study Finds.” Is Meat Sustainable? | Worldwatch Institute”,www.worldwatch.org/node/6255.

This article explains how wind turbines can be used as an effective] way to power China.]

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