Solar energy in progress and future research trends

Ssen Z.

PROGRESS IN ENERGY AND COMBUSTION SCIENCE, vol.30, no.4, pp.367-416, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


Extensive fossil fuel consumption in almost all human activities led to some undesirable phenomena such as atmospheric and environmental pollutions, which have not been experienced before in known human history. Consequently, global warming, greenhouse affect, climate change, ozone layer depletion and acid rain terminologies started to appear in the literature frequently. Since 1970, it has been understood scientifically by experiments and researches that these phenomena are closely related to fossil fuel uses because they emit greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) which hinder the long wave terrestrial radiation to escape into space, and consequently, the earth troposphere becomes warmer. In order to avoid further impacts of these phenomena, the two concentrative alternatives are either to improve the fossil fuel quality with reductions in their harmful emissions into the atmosphere or more significantly to replace fossil fuel usage as much as possible with environmentally friendly, clean and renewable energy sources. Among these sources, solar energy comes at the top of the list due to its abundance, and more evenly distribution in nature than any other renewable energy types such as wind, geothermal, hydro, wave and tidal energies. It must be the main and common purpose of humanity to sustain environment for the betterment of future generations with sustainable energy developments. On the other hand, the known limits of fossil fuels compel the societies of the world in the long run to work jointly for their gradual replacement by renewable energy alternatives rather than the quality improvement of fossil sources.