For years, the solar power industry has steadily been becoming a major way to power the world’s energy as an alternative to fossil fuels. Nearly two-thirds of the Earth is covered with water so it’s a no brainer that people would turn to the oceans to create and store power as well.
Instead of taking up valuable land which can be used for businesses, farms or homes, solar farms can be built and used on the world’s oceans. Now, researchers from Switzerland and Norway are developing the idea of “Solar Methanol Islands” which are solar panel covered islands floating in the sea which can convert carbon dioxide to fuel.
The idea of these islands is to build a bunch of them and then easily group them close together in the water like a solar farm. From there, the carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere can be captured by the solar panels and then converted into solar power energy. This new method of solar islands is also a good way to combat global warming and the increased level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
The researchers explained that “Humankind must cease CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning if dangerous climate change is to be avoided. However, liquid carbon-based energy carriers are often without practical alternatives for vital mobility applications. The recycling of atmospheric CO2 into synthetic fuels, using renewable energy, offers an energy concept with no net CO2 emission.”
Creating these solar islands would actually not be very costly, as all the materials and solar panels needed for the project already exist, as solar panels have been a major source of power in many parts of the world, especially small island nations. Another way these solar panels can be helpful is because after solar power is consumed, the carbon dioxide can also be extracted from the seawater beneath these islands and converted into methanol which is used as a fuel source.