Floating Solar Farms Could Be Used To Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

A new paper, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, proposes a new method of reducing gas emissions.
The team of researchers who conducted the study claim that carbon dioxide could be converted to methanol fuel with the help of special mechanisms that can float in the oceans, similar to large-scale floating fish farms.

According to scientists, global warming can be limited through a massive reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuel. To help come up with a solution, the team proposed using solar energy to recycle atmospheric carbon dioxide into liquid fuel.

The floating islands would work based on photovoltaic cells that have the ability to transform solar energy into electricity. The resulting electricity will be used to produce hydrogen and extract carbon dioxide from the seawater.

Floating Solar Farms Could Be Used To Reduce Gas Emissions

Andreas Borgschulte, the author of the study, said that there have been many attempts at implementing the option of renewables, but with no success so far. Experts estimated that 3.2 million floating islands would be necessary to exceed the total global emissions from fossil fuels. Right now, scientists are working on the first prototype.

Photovoltaic cells are relatively cheap, so the idea could easily be implemented. However, extracting CO2 from seawater and transforming it into fuel is a quite expensive process, which also requires a lot of energy. Hopefully, with the advance of technology, producing electricity from PV will become cheaper over the next 10 years.

During an interview with Forbes, Henry Snaith, Professor of Physics at Oxford University, said: “Aside from battery storage, we now need to create technologies or industry trends that can either use this power when it’s produced in surplus to offset demand when it is not, or convert this electricity into other useful fuels. We don’t need to float our solar farms.”

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Emmy Skylar

About the Author: Emmy Skylar

Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News.  She covers politics and the economy.

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