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May 13, 2008


Harvey D

Very smart move by Dupont. The right technology, in the right place at the right time.

Tom G

Too bad, so sad American worker; just another 5000-10,000 jobs sent off-shore in the name of corporate profits.

So tell me, what part of Dupont will be left in the United States by 2015 and how many Americans will they employ?

Everyone knows that Nanosolar [a U.S. Company] sold their first solar panels to Germany for a power plant right?

Anyone care to wager on who will get the majority of Duponts solar panels?

When will we ever learn?

Bob Wallace

I'm not sure what we should learn.

Seems to me that we've moved from a half century of America being the dominate player in the game. We came out of WWII with brand new factories and the rest of the industrialized world was pretty much in rubble.

During the War we changed from an agricultural to an industrial economy. The farm boys came back from the war with little desire to return to the farm and took advantage of the generous GI Bill. We created a generation of scientists and engineers out of some young people who looked at the world in a very serious manner. Getting shot at will serious one up quite a bit.

We had vast amounts of undeveloped land and resources. We built a first class transportation system. And we soared.

Now times have changed. We are no longer the only game in town. Many other countries can make what we can make and some of them have workers who will work cheap (for a while).

We're now one among many. Not number one.

So what do we do?

Cut our expenses. Get off the petroleum teat as quickly as we can.

Make sure we train lots of capable people. Let's keep our universities well funded and do something about sending our graduates out under staggering debt loads.

Figure out how to make as much as possible with as little labor as possible. We can't compete with someone who is willing to live in a crowded dorm away from his/her family and earn not much more than their daily food.

Quit acting like we're the only ones with good ideas. We're falling behind in literacy, health care, life expectancy, etc.because we're too damned egotistical to copy ideas that are working for other people.

And accept that our standard of living is likely to slump a bit. We need to learn to live with a little less and look for satisfaction not from stuff, but from all the other really great things that don't cost tons of money.

Remember the Beaver Cleaver days that "good patriots" want to return to? Those folks didn't have even a fraction of what we have, but they figured out how to be happy.

A cane pole and river bank can give one just a good a fishing experience as a $30,000 bass boat and a few more thousand dollars of gear.

In other words, suck it up and adapt.

Kit P

And the problem with the BW theory?

“to copy ideas that are working for other people”

They copied from us.

Stephen Boulet

Interesting to see a new investment in thin silicon solar. I wonder if Dupont and others will start feeling squeezed by Nanosolar on price per watt, or whether they can be competitive.


Al Fin

We're falling behind in literacy, health care, life expectancy, etc.because we're too damned egotistical to copy ideas that are working for other people.

If you compare literacy, health, life expectancy by ethnic groupings and SES, the US does quite well. In other words, Americans of European descent compare well to Europeans, Americans of African descent compare well to Africans, etc. etc.

By forgetting the multi-ethnic nature of the US and comparing it to other places that are much more homogeneous ethnically, one commits a common error made by comparing apples and oranges.

Science has long known that ethnic groupings are divergent in several areas. Medical doctors have to understand that. Teachers should know it. Public policy analysts and policy makers should also understand it.

Bob Wallace

And you suspect a racial/genetic basis for literacy?


re; they copied from us..
I doubt anyone copied the US healthcare system.
plus the US is one of the few industrialized countries that offers no maternity leave for new parents.

Bob Wallace

"Interesting to see a new investment in thin silicon solar. I wonder if Dupont and others will start feeling squeezed by Nanosolar on price per watt, or whether they can be competitive."

Not in the short term, I suspect.

Demand is likely to greatly exceed supply like is happening with wind turbines.

We're paying a premium for new wind because market forces are at work to force prices up rather than down.

If I want to buy more PV I'm pretty limited to $5 a watt silicon. I can't get access to the $1 - $2 thin film that the big boys are sucking up.

Bob Wallace

petr -

Other countries might have copied ideas from us.

Then they sometimes improved on those ideas creating new ideas.

We could now copy back.

Just like we copied a lot of our superior ideas from other countries. Like rocket science from Germany.,

Knowledge does not recognize artificial political boundaries.

(Neither does global climate change.)

Tom G

Some additional comments on Solar energy from the May issue of Power Engineering.

"Solar capacity will be exploding over the next decade as a result of federal and state incentives, a world class resource in the Southwest and significant technology advances. Utilities signed power purchase contracts for 2,339 MW of new solar capacity in 2006 and 2007, with project completion
dates between 2006 and 2014. More contracts are expected to be signed in the first half of this year. There are more than 80 utility-scale solar plants being pursued in the United States. The Western Governors Association projects a potential market in the West of nearly 10,000 MW by 2015 and a long-term potential of nearly 200,000 MW."

Sounds good to me but where are all these solar/thermal or solar PV goodies coming from. Here are a few of the companies involved in the various projects cut and pasted from the same article in Power Engineering.

"European developers, fresh from the experience of developing and running projects in Spain (such as Abengoa, Acciona and Solar Millenium), experienced Israeli companies (Sol El) and a number of new technology players (Brightsource, Ausra, SkyFuel, First Solar, Sunpower, E-Solar and others) are pushing the technologies forward and the price down"

Warren Buffet recently invested heavily in railroads. I wonder does he see $7-10 /gal gas & diesel? If we are going to build 200,000 MW in the desert rail will be the cheapest method of getting the materials delivered.

Bob Wallace

Rail is very efficient. The price of fuel could mean a move back to rail. The savings would outweigh the inconvenience of having to shift the load on and off the rail car.

We might even see our factories and warehouse distribution centers being built close to the tracks rather than close to interstate exchanges.


I agree with you Bob, (on the copying of ideas ) I was just responding to the other post.

regarding rail transport - yes it is very efficient but not necessarily cost effective
if the railway is owned by a monopoly that controls the prices..
I dont know the details but some study a few years back - concluded that trucking is in fact a very efficient transport system (especially given that the US govt. invested heavily in an interstate highway system)
Ive been told by a Russian you can get from Vancouver to Seattle in about 2hrs. BUt not Moscow - St. Petersburgh (even though the distance is about the same) because there is no highway system.

Al Fin

DuPont is also getting involved in cellulosic ethanol, partnering with Genencor. The expect to open several plants internationally and in North America, but to headquarter in the US.

Biomass cellulose is widely distributed, and eventually will require a lot of local pre-processing and regional processing. Even so, much bulk transport will probably be required, so rail may become important in the cellulosic economy.

Bob: What is it with your racial theory of literacy? That is a new one on me! ;-)

Bob Wallace

Well, Al, that's what you suggested/stated as fact.

Here's your post, in case your forgot what you posted...

"If you compare literacy, health, life expectancy by ethnic groupings and SES, the US does quite well. In other words, Americans of European descent compare well to Europeans, Americans of African descent compare well to Africans, etc. etc.

By forgetting the multi-ethnic nature of the US and comparing it to other places that are much more homogeneous ethnically, one commits a common error made by comparing apples and oranges.

Science has long known that ethnic groupings are divergent in several areas. Medical doctors have to understand that. Teachers should know it. Public policy analysts and policy makers should also understand it."

Al Fin

Bob, you are straying off-topic. Given how many times you have posted on this issue, it borders on an obsession. Please get back O-T.

Stephen Hamilton

The combined industrial infrastructure for economic conversion of Solar energy to usable power is rapidly reaching critical mass. DD entering the fray is just another symptom of the progression to that end.

Installation costs and transmission costs are now the issues that need attention. That too will come to pass.

PV and CVP are high technologies like DRAM and Microprossors. Moore's Law is at work here too.

Installation costs are similar to DIP and SMT packaging technologies that gave us $600.00 computers by allowing mass production in almost lights out factories.

Lights out factories are now capital intensive... not labor intensive. They can and will be located close to the market.

Are you listening Govenor Schwartzenager? (forgive the spelling)

Bob Wallace

Back to the topic, Al.

I think we arealize all here you're coming from now.


And what we are likely to see are further and drastic decreases in solar prices.

In the last few days we've seen releases of work demonstrating the use of nano-fibers to increase solar panel performance and and success with growing a photo-active protein which holds promise of permitting thin film for less than a dime a watt.

(Sungri has designed their solar concentrating collector to be assembled on slightly modified computer assembly lines.)

And, you know, I think Arnold actually is listening. He's probably socially conservative enough to be a Republican but he does seem to understand energy and finance. His administration recently began pushing for a fast rail connection to be built in California.

Al Fin

The only hope for large scale photovoltaics is utility scale electrical storage. Expect that to happen around 2025 to 2030.

Solar thermal is far more rational, particularly the air-cooled designs from BrightSource etc. Closed cycle gas turbine designs require higher temperatures than steam turbines, but are more efficient.

I am certain there are some nice political blogs you may feel more comfortable at. ;-)

Bob Wallace

Energy storage is probably the area that probably deserves some serious research money.

We seem to have figured out how to make electricity from wind at a "profitable" price and solar is improving/decreasing its price at a rapid rate.

But, as all the 'nay-nay' sayers will cry, these are feast and famine sources. We need ways to fill in the blanks.

Optimal use of hydro will help - pump when there's extra in the grid, generate when input is down. But it's not enough.

We can use existing dirty, expensive generation to fill the gaps for a while, but to continue to do so long term is not in our best interest, for various reasons.

Affordable storage could go a long way to helping us get off of fossils.


I'll look around for some. I suspect that ones that don't sell hoods and sheets would be best fits for me.... ;o)

Al Fin

Small scale nuclear makes a lot of sense to me for city-scale baseload power. Helium cooled, high temperature designs that use gas turbines can be quite small and safe, and can be made cheaply if standardised. The fuel can be made much safer as well.

There are some good wind turbine designs that haven't made it into production yet. But the wind blows when it wants, and not when it doesn't. Biomass can work if the infrastructure is built.


I was thinking you might like the circular type with lots of echoes. ;-)

Bob Wallace

Nuclear makes sense at some levels, but I'd really like to find a way to not leave a mess for those who follow us.

We might find ourselves in such a tight spot that we have no alternative, but I'd prefer we work as hard as possible to avoid becoming those 'ancient buttholes' that left us with this contaminated earth.

And the rarely mentioned 'doofus' factor scares me.

(You know, the engineers who miss a critical conversion from inches to mm, the supplier who cuts a corner and delivers bolts that drop big cement blocks from ceilings, the crooked construction firms that shortcut the amount of tar in the asphalt mix and the runway has to be ripped out, the lazy workers, the greedy operators who don't keep up with maintenance, the security guards found sleeping on the job....)


No, actually I prefer ones with intelligent problem solvers who are willing to take a critical look at an idea and suggest ways around problems that they might discover.

I prefer a site where people make an concerted effort to set aside preconceived ideas, park their religion and prejudices at the door, and play nice.

And I really like sites where the spam is shoveled away on a regular basis and mean-nasty people who won't shape up are taken out and shot.

Kit P

“Small scale nuclear makes a lot of sense to me for city-scale baseload power. “

Al Fin, they are very nifty for changing power quickly too.

Al Fin

Kit: I hope you are right. That would give them a lot more versatility. I'd just be happy for reliable small to medium scale baseload.

The best way to prove that, Bob, would be for you to bring that type of influence yourself. As it is, you run the risk of being one of those taken out and shot! ;-)

Bob Wallace

Al, please tell me in what way I'm 'mean-nasty'.

Do I call any one offensive names?

Do I put people down for being incorrect?

Do I belittle people? Do I call ideas 'stupid' simply because I don't agree with them?

What are the limits on this site that I've overstepped?

Please point out the errors of my ways and I will see what I can do about being a better contributer.

G Barros

Energy storage is the only factor that can make solar energy viable. However, contrary to many, I believe that the best storage possible is the generation of hydrogen by water hydrolysis.
Even considering the losses, with current technology an acre of solar cells making hydrogen from water, can outproduce by far the same acre covered with corn, sugar cane, algae, and you name it.

Bob Wallace

We would need massive storage were we to try to use only solar as a source for our power. (I'm off the grid with solar and battery storage. I understand this first hand.)

Solar without storage can be used as part of the supply when mixed with other inputs (wind, hydro, etc.). The grid operators knows that this afternoon will be sunny and dials back on things such as hydro which are can be controlled.

Using excess solar to crack hydrogen out of water for storage purposes is an interesting idea. A version is being tested in Newfoundland where excess wind electricity is being used to create stored energy.

Using solar to make hydrogen to power cars isn't likely a good idea. Putting that electricity into batteries is looking more efficient.

Hydrogen is difficult to transport and distribute. Electricity is much easier and the basic infrastructure is already in place.

G Barros

In the event that solar power is used, the hydrogen produced by electrolysis should be used to generate electricity during the night. I agree that using it to power cars would be feasible, but cumbersome.

A better alternative for transportation would be producing most of the cars to run with electricity. The other non-electrical cars would help a lot if fabricated as hybrids running on ethanol (from sugar cane or algae) and diesel.

Going back to the usage of solar power for hydrogen production through electrolysis, I came up with very interesting numbers regarding usage of the land.

If the entire US crop of soybeans is used to produce bio-diesel, the output in barrels of oil equivalent reaches nearly 0.21 million barrels / day.

If the same area is used for corn, sugar cane, or hydrogen production from solar power, the following is the equivalent yield:

1. Corn 0.72 million barrels / day
2. Sugar Cane 4.82 million barrels / day
3. H2 from Solar Power 20.3 Ml Barrels/day

Note: the production of H2 takes in consideration:
solar cell power of 0.12 Kw/m2
5 hours of sunlight / day (Arizona),

Cyril R.

I just got back from Hong Kong last week. I also visited Shenzhen (after filling in a dozen forms at customs). Some really big manufacturers are based there. We went to a company called Foxcon, a huge manufacturer employing 200,000 people. Unfortunately, they did not let us into the technology labs and manufacturing facilities.

Shenzhen is definately the right place for a big solar manufacturing facility.

Dinflux Ed

i think everybody wins with solar power.


Quite nicely written actually, i like it. :)


This is a great artical and I am impressed with their ideas on going green. I have to say I just had a very small and up and coming energy minded company come to my home in Mt. Lookout. Our home is 90 years old and I already knew we where losing a lot of money just turning on the heat over the last few days. With the cost of energy rising and the way things are, I thought I would start being green in my own home by saving some MONEY! Energyque came to our home and found we were losing a bunch of money through our windows, basement, attic and even the front door I just replaced this summer. With this thermal heat gun we could see exactly where we needed to insulate and save some bucks. It might sound like I am the spokesmen for this little company but they don't come to sell you anything except where you are losing energy and money. Very cool idea. They are word of mouth and a great bunch of people! Look them up at www.energyque.com

Small Business Accountants

I agree this is right decision at right time.

Rick L.

I am excited to learn that they are going green. I am pumped up about. Excellent points made by everyone. Slick. Thanks a bunch, Rick L.


Having a big name like DuPont commit such massive resources and $$$$ to enter the Solar market does much to legitimize the industry as a whole, and thereby plow a channel for competitors. Consumers and businesses are starting to take notice, and soon the renewable resource industries will be accepted as mainstream. I commend DuPont for their hard work on pushing forth such initiatives.


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Laura (on a diet)

We're now one among dozens. Not number one only in some industries vs. most.

So what's next? We knock out the petroleum USA hating producers as quickly as we can. And train lots of capable people into industries that can energize our economy. We must learn to continue to innovate, change and adopt more quickly and build on our strengths.

Gainesville Solar

DuPont moving into the thin film market can only lead to good things to move more people towards solar as a viable means of alternative energy.

forex forum

solar power is definitely the future. Keep up the good work.

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the type of Amorphous silicone is the future of solar tech. i think so.

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DuPont (NYSE: DD) announced that it will soon begin construction on a research center in Hong Kong and a manufacturing facility in Shenzhen to support the rapidly growing photovoltaic (PV) solar energy industry. Wow i have share


good technology. thanks for sharing....

Residential Solar Panels

This is good news indeed. More productions can drive prices down a bit and thus more people can afford solar energy.

Residential Solar Panels

Would love to see cost coming down as it'll be easier for many others to buy into solar technology

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My opinion is Public policy analysts and policy makers should also understand it......

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It can be used from this light-weight, flexible, non-fragile light-power product.

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