Which Power Source Is Most Efficient?

Which Power Source Is Most Efficient?

Australian researchers just unveiled the most efficient solar panels ever. How efficient are they, and what is the most efficient source of energy?

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In world first — UNSW researchers convert sunlight to electricity with over 40 percent efficiency
“UNSW Australia’s solar researchers have converted over 40% of the sunlight hitting a solar system into electricity, the highest efficiency ever reported.”

New world record for solar cell efficiency at 46% French-German cooperation confirms competitive advantages of European photovoltaic industry
“A new world record for the direct conversion of sunlight into electricity has been established.”

Australia develops world’s most efficient solar panels
“?Australian researchers have developed a new method of using commercial solar panels that converts more electricity from sunlight than ever before.”

What is the efficiency of different types of power plants?
“One measure of the efficiency of a power plant that converts a fuel into heat and into electricity is the heat rate.”

Improving Efficiencies
“Improving efficiency levels increases the amount of energy that can be extracted from a single unit of coal.”

The Most Common Electricity Sources in the U.S.
“Though renewable energy is growing fast, the U.S. still gets the vast majority of its power from conventional power plants.”

Increasing the Efficiency of Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants
“Coal has long been the major fossil fuel used to produce electricity.”

Coal Will Survive as Efficient Power Plants Boost Demand
“President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions left coal with a future even as the industry accuses him of trying to make the fuel obsolete.”

How Do Wind Turbines Work?
“So how do wind turbines make electricity?”

Screwy-looking wind turbine makes little noise and a big claim
“Although it’s getting increasingly common to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, household wind turbines are still a fairly rare sight.”

Betz’s law

Wind Energy More Energy Efficient than Fossil Fuels

Wind Energy More Energy Efficient than Fossil Fuels

“Here’s something that may surprise you. Wind energy is more efficient than carbon-based fuels.”

Wind Energy’s Shadow: Turbines Drag Down Power Potential
“As seemingly limitless as the air that swirls around us, wind has proven to be the world’s fastest-growing source of renewable energy.”

Advanced Nuclear Power Reactors
“The nuclear power industry has been developing and improving reactor technology for more than five decades and is starting to build the next generation of nuclear power reactors to fill new orders.”

Hydroelectric Power
“Hydro-electric power, using the potential energy of rivers, now supplies 17.5% of the world’s electricity (99% in Norway, 57% in Canada, 55% in Switzerland, 40% in Sweden, 7% in USA).”

Hydroelectric Power
“It’s a form of energy … a renewable resource.”


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20 Responses to Which Power Source Is Most Efficient?

  1. Morenob says:

    Just get a bunch of hamsters

  2. Talal Hussain says:

    where the hell is oil and gas

  3. Hudson Bradford says:

    The best for the future is Solar+Wind+Fusion

  4. Lone Tiger says:

    @Seeker I am pretty sure that you calculations are incorrect. As far as I know, efficiency is output power divided by input power. So in case of Power plants that would be total electricity generated in watts divided by total energy fed to the turbines in watts.

    Do Correct me if I'm wrong.

  5. Matthew Arnold says:

    Realistically, all four of these are not enough alone. They should be used to complement each other not to compete with each other.

  6. eatcochayuyo says:

    With renewables, efficiency is not a good way to judge them against fossil fuel power plants. As we say in German, it would be comparing apples to pears. Considering that with a coal power plants efficiency you disregard both the energy put into building the plant and the energy used to dig up and transport the coal! Hence your whole argument is crap.

    The epbt is what you or anybody interested in these topics should be looking at while looking at fossil fuels "from well to wheel"!

  7. Uday Leo says:


  8. Terryblount says:

    Geothermal baby! If we all moved underground every electric bill would be cut in half or more. Heating and cooling accounts for 44% of the average electric bill. Heating water accounts for 18% of the average electric bill. A few feet below your feet is a constant temperature that is much closer to the temperature you want that the air temperature.

    …and there is ground under everyone who doesn't live on a boat.

  9. micah Schmidt says:

    It’s actually really simple. The source of energy that is cheap, scalable, plentiful, and reliable is the one I want. Currently that is everything but renewables. Nuclear by far is the most cost efficient, however regulation is prohibiting more being built, and causing some in existence to be closed. Hydroelectric is great but environmental groups have stalled this technology. I really don’t care which one, as long as we are following what makes the most sense economically. Energy is what drives ingenuity is almost every industry, so whichever form of energy allows for that to flourish I am all for. Why we aren’t researching fusion intensely is beyond me.

  10. paul smith says:

    you think nuclear safe and efficient tell that to the folks in Fukushima and Chernobyl and Three Mile Island

  11. Curran Kemp says:

    Efficiency isn't what matters but cost per kilowatt-hour delivered to the customer. But even that set aside, the only reason nuclear is at that low end of efficiency is that we have invested in generation IV reactors, instead we are still using a poor medium of water to extract the energy out of the full.

  12. 8SharkTV Moshe says:

    Nuclear is not only about “greenness”, safety and efficiency, its also about keeping these highly toxic and radioactive wastes for safe, for hundreds of years.
    Considering how expensive it is to store safely those wastes in underground bunkers under heavy security 24/7 Its the worst solution of them all in the long run.
    Solar and wind are the best solutions overall.

  13. Danyal A. says:

    Let's fill the all of our oceans with hydroelectric generators. Problem solved.

  14. CUBETechie says:

    What about wave energy? It's breathing and can be counted as free energy also what is with water turbine?

    How this solar cell is called?

  15. rohit saini says:

    What about tidal energy and nuclear fusion

  16. ZeldaGamer747 says:

    Thorium reactors? Much safer than Uranium reactors, much more plentiful and cheap and doesn't produce a lot of waste

  17. rabcam1 says:

    wave energy,is good cause the waves are always there, it seems easy,

  18. Praneeth P says:

    Good summary of all the technologies, but you left out fuel cells; specifically, Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (SOFC). SOFC's can reach as high as 70% and they run on natural gas just like a lot of gas fired power plants.

  19. Janelle Villamor says:

    We have a debate on Monday, what is the best energy source? Renewable energy or non-renewable?

  20. Widur says:

    Comparing thermodynamical efficiency of different power sources is interesting, but doesn't mean much for power production. We burn coal and gas or use uranium in our power plants actively, which means efficiency is really important. When it comes to solar and wind, its more about choosing to harvest the sunlight that is already shining and the wind thats already blowing. Increasing efficiency is nice to increase power density (and maybe at some point reduce price per kWh), but its not that important for the argument. You can put solar panels on rooftops and UNUSED/UNUSABLE spaces and wind turbines at agricultural landsides and off shore and produce energy without the need of significant amounts of space. That is in my opinion, what makes solar and wind attractive, not the efficiency of conversion.

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