If we take a look at the energy sources available for our various needs, we clearly can see that Sun is our main source of energy. All the beings on this earth live and thrives, only because of the energy radiated by the Sun. Earth is completely dependent on the energy from the Sun. So among our energy resources, there are vast possibilities for solar energy utilization. It is a sad fact that it is still a less untapped resource.
In many countries, the solar energy which the land gets is much more than the electrical energy consumed. Solar energy needs to be stored in order to use it in an effective manner; as it is a fluctuating source (Only during daytime).
For the storage of a vast amount of solar energy, we can use a technology which is known as solar pond technology. As the name indicates we use ponds to store solar energy.
Solar Pond Principle
It is a fact that in natural ponds that are clear and have less pollution, solar radiation will reach about a depth of 2 meters. This is approximately about 30~. This radiation will get absorbed by the lower layer of the pond and the heat will increase tremendously.
But as this heat increase occurs, the water molecules become lighter there and they will rise and comes to the surface of the pond. This will lead to the loss of the absorbed heat energy to the atmosphere just above the water surface.
Here we are using the technology which will prevent this type of heat loss by the bottom layer of the pond so that this layer will remain in a more heated condition than the top layers. We can use different techniques to achieve this condition like putting common salt (Sodium Chloride) to the lower layers of the pond which will make the lower layers denser compared to the upper layers.
What else can be done with it?
Another method is to set-up a honeycomb structure technology that is transparent and can trap air that is stagnant and will allow the solar radiation to reach deep down and prevents it from losing the heat. Here we use a plastic material that is transparent. We can also try the method of using polymer gels that are transparent and will prevent heat loss.
It will be good if we can understand the steady-state conditions of the pond so that we can calculate the necessary size required for the pond as per our needs. There will be variations in the properties due to change in seasons. The storage area temperature can be simulated by a two-zone model. This model can predict the changes in the properties of the pond that may occur due to changing seasons.
It is tested and proved that the properties like gradient zone, solar radiation, and heat extraction are very near to the values which are observed manually. The only aspect that can create a variation in these measurements is the change in the levels of solar radiation. But this solar pond method is very effective and it shows the credibility and importance of technology.