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(MIT)   MIT research develops a new sponge that uses solar energy to convert water into steam. Researchers considering calling it a Useless Brother-in-Law, which also lays around and does nothing but convert energy into gas all day   (newsoffice.mit.edu) divider line 19
    More: Cool, source of energy, desalinations, graphite, solar power, insulator, sunlight, Nature Communications, complex systems  
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944 clicks; posted to Geek » on 21 Jul 2014 at 7:03 PM (49 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



19 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-07-21 04:42:40 PM  
I would just call that a "Todd"

I'll presume that this technology, like Todd, is surprisingly costly to maintain
 
2014-07-21 05:25:04 PM  
images.gizmag.com

The idea of using solar power to boil or evaporate water isn't new (that's kind of how our weather system system works). This is just a new way to do it.
 
2014-07-21 05:27:13 PM  
It would be awesome if it worked with salt water.

Instant solar powered desalination plant. Then, California could literally suck on that... if it worked that way, that is.

/But, it probably doesn't work well with salt water.
 
2014-07-21 07:46:40 PM  
How does this compare with just focusing a Fresnel lens on the water?
 
2014-07-21 08:05:46 PM  
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~ fark intervention crew
 
2014-07-21 09:23:02 PM  
So, question: Desalinating water essentially consists of evaporating the water, or boiling it off, leaving the salt deposit behind, right?

Why the hell can't they just build a fairly sizable solar collector array and use that to almost insta-boil water in sort of a production-line system?  At NREL I was present at a demonstration of a small-ish Solar Collector that literally liquified steel in under 20 seconds during a routine calibration.  Seems like a fairly simplistic design, then you'd just have to figure out a use for all the leftover sea salt, like selling it for $15 an ounce at Whole Foods.
 
2014-07-21 10:19:36 PM  

Kit Fister: Seems like a fairly simplistic design, then you'd just have to figure out a use for all the leftover sea salt, like selling it for $15 an ounce at Whole Foods.


The amounts of sea salt you'd be producing to keep lawns green in LA would require more market share than just Whole Foods.

Think "winter deicing salt" and you'll be closer to the magnitude involved.
 
2014-07-21 10:33:57 PM  
To extend my figures, there are 35 grams of salt in 1 liter of seawater, on average.

City water usage in the United States is measured (somewhat esoterically) in acre-feet, or the amount of water it takes to cover an acre to a depth of one foot. There are 1,233,482 liters in an acre-foot. Thus, each acre-foot of desalinated water would result in around 43 metric tons of seasalt.

Okay, fine. A large amount, but surely manageable, right? That's actually around one and a half dump truck loads. No worries!

Difficulty: Los Angeles (a prime target for desalination plants) uses approximately 550,000 acre-feet of water a year.
 
2014-07-21 10:48:20 PM  

Destructor: It would be awesome if it worked with salt water.

Instant solar powered desalination plant. Then, California could literally suck on that... if it worked that way, that is.

/But, it probably doesn't work well with salt water.


It might.  But it would still be about the most expensive way to make a solar desalinization plant.
 
2014-07-21 10:57:48 PM  

Kit Fister: So, question: Desalinating water essentially consists of evaporating the water, or boiling it off, leaving the salt deposit behind, right?

Why the hell can't they just build a fairly sizable solar collector array and use that to almost insta-boil water in sort of a production-line system?  At NREL I was present at a demonstration of a small-ish Solar Collector that literally liquified steel in under 20 seconds during a routine calibration.  Seems like a fairly simplistic design, then you'd just have to figure out a use for all the leftover sea salt, like selling it for $15 an ounce at Whole Foods.


Desalinization involves first evaporating salt water.  That takes a ton of energy.  Then you have to condense the fresh water steam.  That releases a ton of energy, though not quite as much.  The difference between the two is salinity energy, and technically represents the minimum amount of energy required for desalinization.  But most solar desalinization methods require the entire evaporation energy, which is far higher.

I have an idea for a solar desalinization plant that would mostly only require the salinity energy.   I need a lot more time and money than I have, though, to build a prototype and see if the idea is actually valid.

/It probably isn't.
 
2014-07-21 11:36:51 PM  

theorellior: To extend my figures, there are 35 grams of salt in 1 liter of seawater, on average.

City water usage in the United States is measured (somewhat esoterically) in acre-feet, or the amount of water it takes to cover an acre to a depth of one foot. There are 1,233,482 liters in an acre-foot. Thus, each acre-foot of desalinated water would result in around 43 metric tons of seasalt.

Okay, fine. A large amount, but surely manageable, right? That's actually around one and a half dump truck loads. No worries!

Difficulty: Los Angeles (a prime target for desalination plants) uses approximately 550,000 acre-feet of water a year.


We were able to get rid of corn by turning it into HFCS and pumping it into most everything in our food supply. Surely we can find something to do with all that salt. Salt coated razor blades. Salty contact lenses. Salt coatings for hypertension pills. The possibilities are endless.
 
2014-07-22 12:45:51 AM  
Ah, finally got around to inventing sun cotton, can we get room-pressure passive condensers and memory acrylic/lensfoam?

Might be needed for quick tectonic manipulations if we disturbed the core fissile process and have to spend twenty years balancing between ejecting water to deep space or diametric liquefaction of keystone plates, although I'm sure we have enough machinery to mimic the continental coastal rhythms for a solid planet.
 
2014-07-22 01:01:52 AM  

Destructor: It would be awesome if it worked with salt water.

Instant solar powered desalination plant. Then, California could literally suck on that... if it worked that way, that is.

/But, it probably doesn't work well with salt water.


simple then, freeze the water first. I'm guessing there can be miniature electrolysis tanks nearby that collect oxygen to compress into liquid and a refrigeration system using wind power, that then attempt to freeze tanks of seawater, peeling/grinding off the upper layers of water that freeze first while cycling superchilled hypersaline water from the bottom to some sort of underground aqueduct leading off towards an oil monopolies salt dome restoration projects.
 
2014-07-22 08:41:04 AM  

Hollie Maea: I have an idea for a solar desalinization plant that would mostly only require the salinity energy. I need a lot more time and money than I have, though, to build a prototype and see if the idea is actually valid.


I wish you luck.

(Kickstart maybe?)
 
2014-07-22 11:16:35 AM  
Future Cybersteampunk.
 
2014-07-22 11:36:00 AM  

Destructor: Hollie Maea: I have an idea for a solar desalinization plant that would mostly only require the salinity energy. I need a lot more time and money than I have, though, to build a prototype and see if the idea is actually valid.

I wish you luck.

(Kickstart maybe?)


Thanks.

I've considered kickstarter, but what would the perks be?  You can't just build someone a desalinization plant for 20 bucks.
 
2014-07-22 11:51:42 AM  

Hollie Maea: I've considered kickstarter, but what would the perks be? You can't just build someone a desalinization plant for 20 bucks.


Yeah, you're right. I was thinking of kickstarter as like a OTC exchange or something... :-)

Let me put it to you this way: The world needs freshwater desperately; the commercially viable production of which could very well become the next "Green Revolution". If you have a viable idea to help that along, I hope you don't abandon it...

...And if it works out, and you become a multi-billionaire, I hope you remember your ol' buddy Destructor prodded you onwards a little... ;-)
 
2014-07-22 08:43:26 PM  

Destructor: Hollie Maea: I've considered kickstarter, but what would the perks be? You can't just build someone a desalinization plant for 20 bucks.

Yeah, you're right. I was thinking of kickstarter as like a OTC exchange or something... :-)

Let me put it to you this way: The world needs freshwater desperately; the commercially viable production of which could very well become the next "Green Revolution". If you have a viable idea to help that along, I hope you don't abandon it...

...And if it works out, and you become a multi-billionaire, I hope you remember your ol' buddy Destructor prodded you onwards a little... ;-)


Is your idea just a multiple effect evaporator?
 
2014-07-23 12:51:21 AM  

RogermcAllen: Destructor: Hollie Maea: I've considered kickstarter, but what would the perks be? You can't just build someone a desalinization plant for 20 bucks.

Yeah, you're right. I was thinking of kickstarter as like a OTC exchange or something... :-)

Let me put it to you this way: The world needs freshwater desperately; the commercially viable production of which could very well become the next "Green Revolution". If you have a viable idea to help that along, I hope you don't abandon it...

...And if it works out, and you become a multi-billionaire, I hope you remember your ol' buddy Destructor prodded you onwards a little... ;-)

Is your idea just a multiple effect evaporator?


No.

Pretty nifty, though.
 
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