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Africa's Desert Sun Can Provide Europe With Power  
User currently offlineG5ive From El Salvador, joined Oct 2007, 105 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1838 times:

Europe is considering plans to fit giant solar power stations along the Mediterranean desert, shores of northern Africa and parts of the Middle East. This would provide Europe with Billions of watts of power. How come no one ever thought of this before?
Read about it here


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36 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 1, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 1829 times:



Quoting G5ive (Thread starter):
How come no one ever thought of this before?

That concept is pretty much exactly as old as the idea of solar power generation in the first place...

But we will most probably not need to import quite as much energy from abroad in the long run (transportation losses are one concern among several).


User currently offlineRlwynn From Germany, joined Dec 2000, 1104 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1819 times:

I think it would maybe help to power Africa first.


I can drive faster than you
User currently offlineAndz From South Africa, joined Feb 2004, 8463 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1810 times:
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Quoting Rlwynn (Reply 2):
I think it would maybe help to power Africa first.

My thoughts exactly, sounds like another way for the first world to use the third world to fuel their seemingly endless avarice.



After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
User currently offlineG5ive From El Salvador, joined Oct 2007, 105 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1799 times:



Quoting Rlwynn (Reply 2):
I think it would maybe help to power Africa first.


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User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 5, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 1784 times:



Quoting Rlwynn (Reply 2):
I think it would maybe help to power Africa first.

That's a nice thought, but since solar power technology is very complex and expensive it needs some kind of financing in any way. So deriving those funds at least initially from energy exports to Europe could very well be a way to do that.


User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3719 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1767 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 5):

That's a nice thought, but since solar power technology is very complex and expensive it needs some kind of financing in any way.

Expensive, yes. Complex, hardly. Nice try to say that the Africans could never figure out how to use the sun on their own.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 7, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1753 times:



Quoting Mham001 (Reply 6):
Expensive, yes. Complex, hardly. Nice try to say that the Africans could never figure out how to use the sun on their own.

How many solar cell production plants are there in Africa (especially outside of South Africa)?

It takes a lot more than just some "figuring out" to build up this kind of technology.


User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3719 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 1746 times:

Quoting Klaus (Reply 7):
How many solar cell production plants are there in Africa (especially outside of South Africa)?

It takes a lot more than just some "figuring out" to build up this kind of technology.

Who said you needed production plants to use a solar panel? Germany is not solar cell sufficient today, in fact how many solar cell production plants did Germany have when they decided they were going to invest in solar energy? Very few, if any because they were sourced out of Japan and the US. I know, because my own supplier suddenly couldn't sell me any more of my favorite panel. Many of the panels Germany is using are now made in China. Perhaps Germany doesn't have the smarts to do it either? Get off the arrogant high horse Klaus.

Anyway, mass production of solar power is cheaper and easier done with solar heat generators. Africas real problem is money and leadership.

[Edited 2007-12-03 11:14:10]

User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 9, posted (7 years 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 1729 times:



Quoting Mham001 (Reply 8):
Who said you needed production plants to use a solar panel? Germany is not solar cell sufficient today, in fact how many solar cell production plants did Germany have when they decided they were going to invest in solar energy? Very few, if any because they were sourced out of Japan and the US. I know, because my own supplier suddenly couldn't sell me any more of my favorite panel. Many of the panels Germany is using are now made in China. Perhaps Germany doesn't have the smarts to do it either? Get off the arrogant high horse Klaus.

Nothing to do with "arrogance". Germany just happens to be a leader or the leader (depending on how you look at it) in solar cell technology today.

German solar cell production soars-industry group | Markets | Reuters

Quote:
FREIBURG, Germany, June 21 (Reuters) - Germany's solar cell production showed the fastest growth worldwide in 2006 thanks to strong demand, beating rival Japan, the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) said on Thursday.

[...]

Germany expects to stay ahead of Japan long-term if it manages to hold on to its technological leadership, the association said.

Germany overtook Japan as the world's largest solar market in 2004 and has stayed on top ever since.

Around 50 percent of global photovoltaic production technology comes from German firms, the BSW said.


The rapid growth in Germany is mainly due to a closely linked industry network and strong demand for solar energy as well as favourable government guidelines for the use of renewable energy, Koernig said.

"Nowhere else in the world is the density of production, research and equipment making higher," Koernig said.

The industry may turn into a leading job provider for Germany.

A recent study for the German government estimated that by 2020 more people will be working in the environmental industry than in the automotive or engineering industry.

[...]

Export sales are seen soaring to 5 billion euros ($6.7 billion) in 2012 from 1.2 billion euros last year, BSW figures showed.



Quoting Mham001 (Reply 8):
Anyway, mass production of solar power is cheaper and easier done with solar heat generators.

Even doing that efficiently is not trivial, but with the abundance of solar energy in most of Africa even relatively inefficient methods can still be good enough for a start. No doubt there.

Quoting Mham001 (Reply 8):
Africas real problem is money and leadership.

Primarily, yes. But it still takes more than just that to build a stable basis for technological progress.


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 1674 times:



Quoting Andz (Reply 3):
Quoting Rlwynn (Reply 2):
I think it would maybe help to power Africa first.

My thoughts exactly, sounds like another way for the first world to use the third world to fuel their seemingly endless avarice.

There's also that pesky problem of, well, getting the power to the point of use.

I wonder, has anyone told the Africans about this and asked them what they think about their countries being covered in solar panels to export power to Festung Europa?

I think the African man in the street could be forgiven if he said "G'wan! Get your own desert."


User currently offlineBhxfaotipyyc From Portugal, joined Jun 2005, 1644 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1661 times:



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 10):
I think the African man in the street could be forgiven if he said "G'wan! Get your own desert."

I was thinking he might say something like: "Fine, we'll rent you the space if you like, but as far as our own needs go, when solar panels can better 12% efficiency come back and see us. In the meantime, stop telling us to use solar energy when coal and oil, which is what built your Western economies, are by far our cheapest sources of energy too."



Breakfast in BHX, lunch in FAO, dinner in TIP, baggage in YYC.
User currently offlineRacingGreen07 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1652 times:

I read in The Economist that there are plans to deploy solar panels as big as a few KM in area into orbit and beam power directly down via a very powerful microwave to a station on Earth.

I'll dig the article up sometime.....

Regards!


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 13, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 1645 times:



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 10):
I think the African man in the street could be forgiven if he said "G'wan! Get your own desert."

We are. Desertification is already progressing even in Europe. In Spain it is a major problem even today.

Quoting Bhxfaotipyyc (Reply 11):
I was thinking he might say something like: "Fine, we'll rent you the space if you like, but as far as our own needs go, when solar panels can better 12% efficiency come back and see us. In the meantime, stop telling us to use solar energy when coal and oil, which is what built your Western economies, are by far our cheapest sources of energy too."

Nobody is trying to force them to spend more on their own energy needs.

Quoting RacingGreen07 (Reply 12):
I read in The Economist that there are plans to deploy solar panels as big as a few KM in area into orbit and beam power directly down via a very powerful microwave to a station on Earth.

Yeah, that is also an old concept. But it is so inefficient, so dangerous and so obviously usable as a weapon that it is almost certainly dead in the water.


User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4700 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1640 times:

I fear Saudi Arabia will dominate the energy market even after the last barrel of oil has been sold. They can afford to build these plants right now, selling us hydrogen in the future.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 10):
I wonder, has anyone told the Africans about this and asked them what they think about their countries being covered in solar panels to export power to Festung Europa?

Two points to consider:

1. They'll make money with power export, and they won't be unhappy about that.
2. Would you care about the Mojave Desert being covered with solar panels?



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 15, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 3 hours ago) and read 1635 times:



Quoting A342 (Reply 14):
I fear Saudi Arabia will dominate the energy market even after the last barrel of oil has been sold. They can afford to build these plants right now, selling us hydrogen in the future.

Hydrogen is overrated. It comes with so many problems as an energy storage or transport medium that I don't think it will see really widespread use.

And our main goal is and must be to become less dependent on energy imports of any kind. If we're successful with that, we will never again be as dependent on the Saudis (or Russia) as we've been in the past.


User currently offlineMham001 From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3719 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1622 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 9):
Nothing to do with "arrogance". Germany just happens to be a leader or the leader (depending on how you look at it) in solar cell technology today.

German solar cell production soars-industry group | Markets | Reuters

Quote:
FREIBURG, Germany, June 21 (Reuters) - Germany's solar cell production showed the fastest growth worldwide in 2006 thanks to strong demand, beating rival Japan, the German Solar Industry Association (BSW) said on Thursday.

[...]

Germany expects to stay ahead of Japan long-term if it manages to hold on to its technological leadership, the association said.

Germany overtook Japan as the world's largest solar market in 2004 and has stayed on top ever since.

Around 50 percent of global photovoltaic production technology comes from German firms, the BSW said.

Certainly many ways to look at it, but don't drink all kool-aid. Germany's main claim to fame is being the largest market, which is expected to be far behind by 2011. Notice that your source claims "fastest growth", yet it is not even in the top 3 in solar cell production. How much solar cell manufacturing equipment is hard to tell without spending $1,200 for a market report. I happen to follow the industry weekly and much of the efficiency gains continue to come from the US. A subsidiary of Boeing for example, has set the record for maximum efficiency from a solar cell at 40%. Japan still produces the most cells, China at #3 is rising incredibly fast and will dwarf Germany's cell production easily. Last year, Spain's production rose 200%, so don't be too smug.....At any rate, my point is that it does not take a solar cell manufacturing industry to set and wire some panels in the desert, something Germany itself did not have prior to the onset of its solar initiative.


User currently offlineKlaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21521 posts, RR: 53
Reply 17, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1616 times:



Quoting Mham001 (Reply 16):
Certainly many ways to look at it, but don't drink all kool-aid.

It's got nothing to do with that. My point was that building up the technology and/or financing or large-scale solar facilities is not a piece of cake that any african country could just do at the drop of a hat if they only wanted to.

You either need the infrastructure resources to realize it yourself or you need to pay others for it. And even then some organisational and infrastructure requirements remain.


User currently offlineDfwRevolution From United States of America, joined Jan 2010, 1001 posts, RR: 51
Reply 18, posted (7 years 2 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 1616 times:



Quoting Rlwynn (Reply 2):
My thoughts exactly, sounds like another way for the first world to use the third world to fuel their seemingly endless avarice.

From the article:

"The Desertec project envisages a ring of a thousand of these stations being built along the coast of northern Africa and round into the Mediterranean coast of the Middle East. In this way up to 100 billion watts of power could be generated: two thirds of it would be kept for local needs, the rest - around 30 billion watts - would be exported to Europe."

The solar concentrator plants can also be used to produce fresh drinking water, so I'd say it's very much a win-win for Africa.


User currently offlineDougloid From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1585 times:



Quoting A342 (Reply 14):
Quoting Dougloid (Reply 10):
I wonder, has anyone told the Africans about this and asked them what they think about their countries being covered in solar panels to export power to Festung Europa?

Two points to consider:

1. They'll make money with power export, and they won't be unhappy about that.
2. Would you care about the Mojave Desert being covered with solar panels?

First point is not a given and the second point is unanswerable because I do not live in the Mojave. If I did I might have a problem with it particularly if me and my fellow Mojaveans or Mojavistas or whatever had been exploited ripped off and oppressed by the same people who now want to cover it with solar reflectors to air condition, say, Los Angeles, just like they stole the water out of the Owens Valley.


Anyway, how the hell are they going to get the power to europe? that's one hell of an extension cord.


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40066 posts, RR: 74
Reply 20, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 1580 times:

Shouldn't the focus be getting power from sources that don't involve tyrannical, despotic dictators?


Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineFumanchewd From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1568 times:



Quoting Dougloid (Reply 10):
I wonder, has anyone told the Africans about this and asked them what they think about their countries being covered in solar panels to export power to Festung Europa?

I'm pretty sure that they will sell the rights to use their land on a lease. How much do you think a couple thousand hectacres of useless land would go for? They certainly wouldn't just let foreign companies claim their land.


User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2168 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 22 hours ago) and read 1562 times:

If I had a say, I'd seal off the Gibraltar strait, and then generate energy from the water that flows into the Mediterranean sea. That should provide enough energy for Europe and Africa alike.  Silly


Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineA342 From Germany, joined Jul 2005, 4700 posts, RR: 3
Reply 23, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 1519 times:



Quoting Klaus (Reply 15):
It comes with so many problems as an energy storage or transport medium

True, but what are the alternatives?

Quoting Rara (Reply 22):
If I had a say, I'd seal off the Gibraltar strait, and then generate energy from the water that flows into the Mediterranean sea. That should provide enough energy for Europe and Africa alike.

Huh? Why should the water flow in? Anyway, don't forget the Suez canal.



Exceptions confirm the rule.
User currently offlinePelican From Germany, joined Apr 2004, 2531 posts, RR: 8
Reply 24, posted (7 years 2 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 1501 times:

Stupid idea. From one energy dependency to another.

Quoting Dougloid (Reply 19):
First point is not a given and the second point is unanswerable because I do not live in the Mojave. If I did I might have a problem with it particularly if me and my fellow Mojaveans or Mojavistas or whatever had been exploited ripped off and oppressed by the same people who now want to cover it with solar reflectors to air condition, say, Los Angeles, just like they stole the water out of the Owens Valley.

Considering how much the current energy exporters like Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates "suffer" I guess the new energy exporters wouldn't have to fear much...

pelican


25 Lowrider : Not really. Use land that is currently not being used for anything else. Not just the mojave either, significant parts of New Mexico and Arizona coul
26 Mham001 : One of the big things is power transmission. The cost to install infrastucture and the power loss while transmitting. Something that really makes me w
27 Post contains links Klaus : For most stationary uses, most probably a combination of further increased efficiency and energy directly or via electricity from renewable sources.
28 Zak : actually, due to the transportation issue mentioned before, what makes A WHOLE LOT more sense is to use the electricity locally to create h2, liquify
29 Klaus : Hydrogen is not a very good transport medium. It is difficult to contain, highly dangerous and not really all that efficient overall when you're cons
30 DfwRevolution : I fail to see how it makes more sense to: - use the current to break down chemical bonds in water (lose energy in the process)? - condense hydrogen t
31 Zak : of course its not as efficient, but it is VERY low on emissions. i dont mean h2 as means of oil replacement, but certainly viable to either liquify o
32 Post contains links DfwRevolution : Well, no. Electricity is already sent over these distances at commercially viable rates. In fact, it's been done since the 1930s. Modern technology h
33 Post contains images Virgin744 : As you will no doubt agree, they have thought of this before - many time over, but the overriding factor as has been and will always be the case is m
34 Mham001 : i misrepresented what the article actually said. Here is the quote " In this way up to 100 billion watts of power could be generated: two thirds of it
35 StealthZ : No it doesn't, the Suez is a sea level waterway and does not require the locks used in the Panama canal to raise ships up over a mountain range, not
36 Klaus : Ah, okay. I had assumed they'd have locks to prevent equalization currents through the canal, but apparently that's not necessary. But building locks
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