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Creative thinking: Researchers propose solar methanol island using ocean CO₂

Creative thinking: Researchers propose solar methanol island using ocean CO₂

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  • These solar methanol islands look like giant space-tech pancakes floating on the ocean. They are an artist rendition of an innovative solar powered technology to make methanol for fueling our trucks, buses and airplanes instead of extracting fossil fuels. The approach also extracts CO2 from the atmosphere

    These solar methanol islands look like giant space-tech pancakes floating on the ocean. They are an artist rendition of an innovative solar powered technology to make methanol for fueling our trucks, buses and airplanes instead of extracting fossil fuels. The approach also extracts CO2 from the atmosphere. Great to see research going into this challenging area to replace what most agree today is a conundrum on the fuel solutions for clean transportation. And personally, I quite like the flat discs which I find much kinder to the eye than windmills. They don’t block the ocean view.

  • Fascinating concept, huge potential. My biggest concern would be the difficulty in keeping the platforms safe from storms, and repairing them after damage or just wear and tear.

    “Imagine an open ocean, Sun beating down overhead, with 70 islands of solar panels, each 100 meters (328 feet) in diameter

    Fascinating concept, huge potential. My biggest concern would be the difficulty in keeping the platforms safe from storms, and repairing them after damage or just wear and tear.

    “Imagine an open ocean, Sun beating down overhead, with 70 islands of solar panels, each 100 meters (328 feet) in diameter, bobbing silently out toward the horizon.

    The cluster of islands is churning out electricity and sending it to a hard-hulled ship that acts as an oceanic factory. This factory uses desalinization and electrolysis equipment to extract hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the surrounding ocean water. It then uses these products to create methanol, a liquid fuel that can be added into, or substituted for, transportation fuels. Every so often, a ship comes to offload the methanol and take it to a supply center on land.”

  • Some creativity and clever engineering (and dollars to back those up) is going to be needed