Free Water from Sun
There is going to be a giant water shortage in the near future. Even without Global heating the statistic have shown for years a trend to fresh water shortage in the world. To this end I believe a small investment in technology would bring substantial gains to mitigate this problem for humanity. The technology for recovering water from the ocean has been around for a very long time. I propose Universities and colleges near the oceans of the world band together to form a consortium of research to make the conversion of salty water to fresh a practical reality and further make it available to the world.
Here are a few ideas that can kick this off.
- Solar collectors for heating (boiling) water does not need the fine point concentration of sunlight focus that is needed for many other projects. Thus a less than perfect parabola is needed. And that makes it cheaper to build.
- Power to pump the water inland a long distance to the solar collectors could be drawn from wave/tide motion. A simply pump attached to a floating "bob" might be enough. Pumping inland allows the large solar arrays to be away from the coast line. An advantage for both cost, esthetics and environmental considerations.
- To reduce maintenance for the piping (salt water is very corrosive), cement pipes could be used where possible. A roto rooter clean out every few years might be enough.
- The residue from the de-salinization process might be profitably sold to help cut costs.
- It may be possible to make the boiling water turn turbines to generate electricity as part of the "cooling process needed to re-condense the water.
- Some form of using the hot pure water (after the turbines use it for electricity) to preheat the cold ocean water may improve efficiency.
- Places like Calif., Texas, Mexico and the Middle East, come to mind as good locations with hot dry sunny climes that need water (and electricity).
- It would be interesting to see if a way could be made to combine photo-voltaic electricity generation with the standard reflective light collection to boil water. That is, could the light that is not used by the photo-voltaic cells be reflected to heat the boiler pipes? A long shot but worth a look.
- A wind farm seems to me a good addition to this site as it provides more electricity and causes little shading of the collectors, percentage wise.
- Some effort by the art departments of these schools might be useful to make the sites more pleasing to the eye. Personally, I think wind farms and solar collectors could be quite beautiful. I think the wind farm at Tahachappi is cool looking as well as functional and donít see the objections being made over the Puget Sound site in the recent news. Each to his own I guess.
- If the schools all contributed to the project and shared (using some formula) in any rewards and the potential patents, this might not be an expensive project. If all the Schools shared the patents usability then the best of each school could be combined with others and a better overall synthesis could result.
OK, that should get things going.