Direct Sun Power

Boston Herald

The following editorial on the above subject in the Boston Herald will be read with much interest:—

The fact that a perfected type of solar-motor has been in practical operation in southern California for many months, doing actual and regular work with remarkable economy, indicates that a real achievement has been reached in a field where nothing has been looked for by scientific investigators or technical experimenters, as a rule—at least so far as application to industrial conditions of the present or the near future is concerned—except theoretical results that might become of practical service at some distant day. Fuel is so abundant and cheap, so large an amount of working energy is stored up in a pound of coal or a gallon of petroleum, that there is comparatively little inducement to resort to the aid of the great natural forces unless their use be made tempting by uncommon opportunities for economy. Yet no fuel at all is, of course, cheaper than the cheapest of fuel, and there are conditions of fuel supply in various parts of the world that make a natural source of energy a most desirable industrial factor when accessible.

Two such sources, water power and wind power, have long been extensively utilized. Yet the cheapness of fuel tended to make even water power a diminishing factor until the development of means for electric generation and transmission of energy brought it to front again. Two other great sources of power, in the tides and the waves of the sea, have yet been practically developed little if at all; and the idea of turning directly to the very fountain-head of all our forms of terrestrial energy in the sun itself has seemed insuperably daring to most practical minds, though appealing correspondingly to visionary imaginations. Yet the main instrumentalities for doing this have long been known, and the problem has been simply one of economic development of their possibilities. Modern science, with its command of light and cheap materials, appears to have done this.

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The Lectures
September 5, 1901

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