I’ve been mulling this over for quite some time now, and I think it’s time to write it down.
When I found out I was going to be in Australia for a while, I got to thinking about some of the challenges facing the country.
Now, energy production in a cheap, sustainable and environmentally friendly way is a challenge that faces all countries. A challenge that is uniquely Australian (ok maybe not unique, but at least not all face it) is a fresh water shortage. Fresh water is used in agriculture here to such an extent as to deplete some natural waterways completely – there are many issues with fresh water supply, including a long lasting drought.
Combining these two issues, I got to thinking of thermal solar power. Australia is an extremely sunny and warm country – energy a’plenty. Why doesn’t Australia set up power plants that harness solar energy – to my knowledge these plants work by solar rays being focused on water tanks which then heat up. The hot water turns to steam that drives a turbine.
Here comes the interesting bit – why don’t you construct a plant that harnesses solar energy and converts it to electricity, and THEN condense the steam that drives the turbine and produce drinking water form it?? The byproduct would be mostly salt, which means you would get a trifecta of useful products here:
– Cheap electricity
– Fresh drinking water
– Industrial (or table possibly) salt
So, what’s stopping you? The solar tech exists. Fresh water production in this manner is a very old concept – and who doesn’t like salt?
Oh and no sense trying to patent the idea, since I’ve just made it public.