Floating Solar Farms

Millions of marine floating islands, each as large as a football field and powered by sunlight, could harvest carbon dioxide and produce enough fuel to power the world’s planes, ships, trains and lorries. These solar methanol farms, proposed by scientists from Switzerland and Norway, could even eliminate all global fossil fuel emissions.

Solar panels covering the 100m-diameter islands would provide energy for combining carbon dioxide and hydrogen into methanol – a compound that can either be used directly as a fuel or serve as a feedstock for petrochemical products. A chemical plant housed in a moored ship would provide the ingredients for this reaction: hydrogen from water splitting and carbon dioxide harvested from seawater. The area underneath the islands could even be used for fish farming.

A cluster of 70 islands could produce 1.75 tonnes of methanol per hour, the team calculates. To compensate for emissions from the long-haul transport, 170,000 such clusters would be needed. They could be placed along shorelines near the equator, in particular Indonesia, northern Australia and Brazil – areas that have lots of sunlight, small waves and few hurricanes. If 1.5% of the world’s oceans was used for solar methanol farms, they could offset global fossil fuel emissions altogether.

This vision, however, is not without its challenges. Electrolysing seawater creates unwanted chlorine, so the researchers suggest desalinating the water before use. Carbon dioxide can be harvested from seawater – its concentration here is 125 times higher than in air – but it requires heating or acidification. Electrodialysis, which effectively acidifies one part of a solution, could be a practical extraction method. Moreover, to be economically viable, each island cluster can’t cost more than $90 million (£70 million). At that rate it would be projected to cost $990,000,000,000,000 (nearly 1 quadrillion dollars).

The most challenging part, however, might be the catalytic methanol production. Current copper–zinc–aluminium catalysts require high pressures and temperatures. But if temperatures get too high, hydrogen and carbon dioxide can react to form unwanted carbon monoxide. Microstructured reactors and more selective nickel–gallium catalysts might alleviate these problems, but they still need to be tried and tested.

A lot of questions remain, such as whether these technologies could be combined in the way the scientists suggest, and what the best practical design for these facilities might be.


B D Patterson et al, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2019, DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1902335116

Visit original article here: https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/11-million-floating-solar-farms-could-eliminate-carbon-emissions-from-transport-/3010580.article

Seabin Project

Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski, two avid surfers, decided to quit their jobs to create a “Seabin” that would collect trash, oil, fuel and detergents.

The Seabin is a floating rubbish bin that is located in the water at marinas, docks, yacht clubs and commercial ports.

The Seabin moves up and down with the range of tide collecting all floating rubbish. Water is sucked in from the surface and passes through a catch bag inside the Seabin, with a submersible water pump capable of displacing 25.000 LPH (litres per hour), plugged directly into 110/220 V outlet. The water is then pumped back into the marina leaving litter and debris trapped in the catch bag to be disposed of properly.

Seabins can skim unsightly surface oils and pollutants. This location shared from @seabin_project had a boat with a fuel leak problem in the marina. Seabins are fitted with oil absorbing pads and it cleaned up the spill in no time.

Who knows what impact this technology could have in helping clean our ports and harbors! Visit their site to get a quote for single or multiple V5 Seabin units at http://seabinproject.com/pre-sales/

Wave Star: Kinetic Wave Power

Meet “Wave Star” of Denmark. It is a facility designed to convert kinetic wave power into electricity.

Wave Star is equipped with kinetic-energy harvesters called “floats.” The floats move up and down with the kinetic motion of the waves. The motion of the floats is transferred via hydraulics to rotate power generators. Their facility enables continuous energy production and a smooth output.

The full scale device will be equipped 20 floats of 10 m (33 ft) in diameter. Each power station will be able to produce 6 megawatts of energy, a single machine providing enough energy for roughly 4000 homes.

In the event of a storm, the floats can be lifted to a safe position. The facility could also be upgraded to utilize wind and solar power. The power stations are planned to hit the market this year!

Check out this video for more information!

Thanks to @SeedsofLove.Life for the share! <3