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Massive Floating Generators To Provide Power & Food To Japan

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    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2008
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      MASSIVE FLOATING GENERATORS, OR 'ECO-RIGS',
      TO PROVIDE POWER AND FOOD TO JAPAN
      By Leo Lewis
      Times Online
      September 1, 2008

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article4648732.ece

      Battered by soaring energy costs and aghast at dwindling fish stocks,
      Japanese scientists think they have found the answer: filling the seas with
      giant ³eco-rigs² as powerful as nuclear power stations.

      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.

      The floating eco-rig generators which measure 1.2 miles by 0.5 miles (2km by
      800m) are intended to harness the energy of the Sun and wind. They are each
      expected to produce about 300 megawatt hours of power.

      Some energy would be lost moving the electricity back onshore, but when
      three units are strapped together, scientists at Kyushu University say, the
      effect will be the same as a standard nuclear power station.

      The eco-rigs' gift to the environment does not stop there: some of the power
      that the solar cells and wind turbines produce will be hived off to fuel
      colossal underwater banks of light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

      The lamps are intended to convert the platforms into nurseries for specially
      selected seaweed that absorbs carbon dioxide and feeds fish and plankton.
      Deep-sea water that is rich in minerals will enhance the seaweed growth. The
      wind turbines will power pumps that will then draw the water to the surface.
      The rigs will be unmanned and comprise several hexagonal platforms.

      Strapped between them will be large nets designed to support the weight of
      wind turbines and about 200,000 hexagonal photovoltaic generators --
      super-efficient solar panels that are about the size of a double bed. The
      LEDs will shine down from the panels.

      As a country with virtually no fossil fuels, price rises in oil and gas have
      chilled the corporate sector and the Japanese Government.

      Japan's faith in nuclear power has also taken a beating. An earthquake
      caused its largest nuclear plant to shut down in 2007 and engineers and
      seismic experts cautioned that the country's high susceptibility to quakes
      placed the industry at risk.

      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.

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      Published by David Sunfellow
      NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE)
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