Water Problems, Water Solutions

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by Diode-Man, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Diode-Man Awesome User Title Registered Senior Member

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    1,372
    I've seen a lot of stuff lately about the upcoming water shortage and here is my solution. (it may be a little expensive to initialize, on the other hand it would produce fresh water for many years into the future)

    Reflective solar convex domes which concentrate sunlight into a point where electricity can be generated and then used to distill ocean water, the salt remaining could be purified and sold. The point is that this could potentially produce millions of gallons of water. Another solution would be to use solar panels to power large water distillers since solar panels get about 30% cheaper by the year to produce. My personal opinion is that coal power maybe coming to an end, especially in places like Southern California, Texas and Arizona where sunlight is plentiful year round. (there is a massive amount of untapped sunlight in these areas, likely enough to supply the entire nations electricity!)

    Thoughts?
     
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    As much as I like it ....

    The front-end expense, some manner of concern about energy returns, and infeasibility for the complexity of the project have long been the main objections to mass desalinization. Of course, the last time I considered it, I was thinking in terms of tidal hydroelectricity, so I cannot say net energy returns carry the same argumentative weight in consideration of solar. But still, questions of the business model are unavoidable in the twenty-first century. Does your suggestion, then, imply public, private, or mixed financing? Is water distribution in this sense a for-profit enterprise?

    I don't disagree with the underlying idea; I just can't figure how it would actually work. And, unfortunately, such ideas cannot escape their economic considerations.

    In addition to the front-end cost, for instance, as much as I like the idea of seeing how much energy we can harvest from sunlight, a project of that scale would also have tremendous maintenance costs. Everything from PV cell failures to dust management, temperature fluctuations in desert climes, and potential wind damage must be accounted for. The schadenfreude upshot, of course, would be a delineation among greens between those willing to sacrifice such vast swaths of land for such projects and those who would oppose such widespread solar implementation for the sake of animal habitats.

    There were some good ideas floating around at the beginning of the Apollo Alliance Project that included massive upgrades of the energy distribution infrastructure in the United States that would, over the long run, offer some incentives for private—i.e., homeowner—solar and wind harvesting, as they could sell that energy to the Grid, which in turn would create a new marketplace for energy exchange. I haven't followed the political evolution of those notions, but I think any solar solutions will also have to include individual private parties, insofar as however many acres of solar panels we might try to build in the sun-drenched parts of the U.S., the effort will still require urban participation.

    And, in truth, the situation gets even more complicated to my eye when we start figuring the international variables. Nationwide is tough enough; worldwide is a legitimately daunting question.

    Yes, I'm down with the general idea, but I simply don't get how it will work.
     
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  5. madanthonywayne Morning in America Registered Senior Member

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  7. Gerhard Kemmerer Banned Banned

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    In Australia the Authorities are busy building under roadways and channeling road surface water to be recycled for domestic use, while the cleaner dam waters will be sold and used for industry. How socialist.
     
  8. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

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    For drinking water (even bathing) destilled sea water is fully feasible, and already used several places. Lots of people already drink only bottled water, so price is not that much of an issue. The problem comes when you need water for irrigation, to grow food crops.

    Hans
     

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