How mirrors can light up the world.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Contrarian, Nov 27, 2006.

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  1. I doubt the politicians, with their oil interests, will be happy to hear about this potentially world changing hypothesis. The only problem -- science aside -- I can see with the idea is the fact that, in order for the plan to work, vast quantities of North African desert would need to be used. Considering that the West's relationship with the Islamic world further deteriorates by the day, and the ranks of the jihadis grow by the day, could the project ever materialise?

    Guardian newspaper
  2. There´s a town in Austria that plans to use giant mirrors to bring daylight to their totally in-shade winter streets.

    I´m for anything that piss*s off the oil/power maffia :twisted:
  3. Screw the Jihadis. Just show them how much cash they can earn (and give them a fair cut) and the radicals will be out of the community group faster than a bacon sandwich.

    Also I believe the French have used a similar construction for the last few years as a solar furnace.

    So to be honest, we don't need the deserts.
  4. Trouble is, you can't really economically export heat. Thermodynamics and all that...
  5. Who's exporting heat? Its about creating electricity, which unless your using an IPOD can be moved around.............................
  6. Only around the nation's, who build the power station, National grid. It can hardly be shipped now can it?
  7. Why not? Its not a difficult problem, it would just involve a hell of a lot of cables
  8. Thermo-Man,

    I think the good people at Duracell would disagree they regularly move electricity. Last time I checked they even had a rabbit moving it up some cliff, how portable do you want!?
  9. Electricity can be exported, it already is in parts of Europe.
  10. But that isn't very economic. Big energy wastage along the cables over a great distance, maintainance, plus the political factor of another country running a power plant that you rely on. It could be done but it needs to be cost effective to or no-one will go for it.
  11. Given that there are no fuel overheads I would think that it would be quite cost effective.
  12. C_F I didn't know that and I do stand corrected. But if we are talking about solar energy in the form of these parabolic mirrors, wouldn't Spain be the nearest place to the UK to have such a power station that produces a descent amount of power? The logistics of getting that power to the UK would be quite extensive.

    Batteries of course can be transported, but most of your kitchen appliances are not run on AAs.

    Edited for spelling
  13. I suspect you haven't read the article Thermobloke, it talks about transporting the current as DC because losses then will only be in the region of 10% between the Africa and the UK.

    As for political will, the only contentious bit could be getting it to the European mainland and as the Afican state in question will be making piles of money even that is unlikely. Once in Europe all the EU members will happily do their bit to speed it on it's way across their grids and just across the border into the next member state's grid. I think a lot of the nations already 'borrow' power anyway.
  14. Distribution is the biggest problem, I agree, it could be done but there are huge obstacles to be overcome.
    The inherent resistivity of the conductors over such a great distance would be enormous, especially as electrical resistivity increases along with the ambient temperature.
    Then theres the Med, what are they going to do, either build hundreds of giant pylons sitting on the seabed, or try and insulate the cables and run them underwater.
    The way forward is to have solar arrays in geostationary earth orbit and beam the power back to earth via microwave wireless power transmission.
    I know it sounds far-fetched, but it is do-able, and is currently in development.
  15. Sandman, we put a cable across 3000 miles of the Atlantic 150 years ago, it shouldn't be difficult to go across the Med.

    Hell, they could even bring it up for air at Malta and Sicily if they needed to.