The idea of having solar panels in the middle of the ocean might seem crazy, but it could also be our solution to curbing our dependence on fossil fuels that belch harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
These solar farms or solar ‘islands’ can be used to convert the carbon dioxide in our seawater to methanol. Methanol is a fuel that can power airplanes and trucks.
How Solar Islands can Benefit our Atmosphere
The solar farms will consist of 70 groups of circular solar panel islands. The electricity that the islands produce will be used to split water molecules into hydrogen, which will then react with seawater to create methanol.
A single island is expected to produce over 15,000 tons of methanol each year. This much methanol is enough to fuel a Boeing 737 airplane for over 300 round-trip flights from Phoenix to New York.
Unlike fossil fuels, methanol burns cleanly. The carbon dioxide that the methanol burns will eventually end up back in the ocean where it will be reused by the solar islands.
Where would they best be used?
Solar islands would best be used in climates where there is plenty of sunlight, low wave action and low risk of severe weather. The depth should be shallow enough so the solar panels can be implanted into the bottom of the ocean.
Ideal locations would be the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, the coasts of Spain and Australia and parts of Southeast Asia. The island would cover an area of .4 square miles.
It is predicted that output from 3.2 million islands would exceed the total global emissions from fossil fuels. The project of building floating solar farms is still ambitious and there is still a lot of research to be done.
One of the biggest challenges they are facing is making a large enough device to extract CO2 from the ocean. The process hasn’t been fully developed but researchers are hopeful.
Solar Panels with Sol-Up
While solar islands are a far-out idea, the use of solar panels can also benefit our atmosphere and save us energy. Want to start helping save our atmosphere? Contact the solar panel experts at Sol-Up to get your panels installed today!