Fantasy can bring delight. Desperation triggers magical thinking. When the two come together it can get interesting. Planetary engineering ideas like injecting sulfur oxides into the upper atmosphere, for example, sound too Jules Vern-ish to be taken at face value, even by the man who conceived of Gaia. (As James Lovelock points out in Kimberly's recent post, manipulating planetary feed back loops calls for a long-term relationship unlikely to be affordable.)
Every once in awhile, though, magical designs become, or at least reshape, our idea of what is practical. We hope the Japanese are right about the utility of "Eco-Rigs."
What kind of dream might let the island nation of Japan adapt to the combination of Peak Oil, seismically threatened nuclear plants, Climate Change, and plunging fish stocks? Japan is moving to the prototype stage of deploying it's first "Eco-Rig" to see if one grand design would do it all.
The project, which could result in village-sized platforms peppering the Japanese coastline within a decade, reflects a growing panic in the country over how it will meet its future resource needs.Via::The Times Online, Massive floating generators, or 'eco-rigs', to provide power and food to JapanThe design involves hiving multiple offshore, floating platforms, each of which has solar photovoltaic and wind turbine units producing 300 megawatt hours of combined power. Some of the power output goes ashore. And, some runs in-situ pumps and underwater LED light banks to cultivate "specially selected seaweed that absorbs carbon dioxide and feeds fish and plankton."
The Kyushu team says the plans are about three years away from becoming reality. It began tests on a scale version of the eco-rig last month, and full-scale official evaluation is expected to begin soon.You have to give them credit for facing the future with bold imagination. While the US political vision is constrained by absurd debate over 'drill here..drill there,' Japanese designers ready to trip the marine LED lights fantastic.
Better take Tsunamis into account.
Image credit::Ursis Blog, Jules Verne collection, original illustration selection
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