Tuesday, February 12, 2008

New Energy Ideas

From the Guardian:

Europe is considering plans to spend more than £5bn on a string of giant solar power stations along the Mediterranean desert shores of northern Africa and the Middle East.

More than a hundred of the generators, each fitted with thousands of huge mirrors, would generate electricity to be transmitted by undersea cable to Europe and then distributed across the continent to European Union member nations, including Britain.

Billions of watts of power could be generated this way, enough to provide Europe with a sixth of its electricity needs and to allow it to make significant cuts in its carbon emissions. At the same time, the stations would be used as desalination plants to provide desert countries with desperately needed supplies of fresh water.

The method is pretty interesting. Giant mirrors direct sunlight to towers of water, which produce tons of steam that turn turbines and produce electricity. The steam is desalinized salt water by this time and can be used as much needed drinking water for the local communities. Pretty cool. Even if it takes £200 billion and 30 years, it sounds like a great investment. 

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