Tag Archives: solar islands

Japanese to investigate space based solar power

We found on The Independent the following article Japanese engineers plan to turn the Moon into a giant solar panel station. It’s clear that Japan is busy to look for alternative energy resources after the Fukushima disaster of 2011. This plan is a subset of so-called space based solar power or SBSP. The idea is to install solar panels on the Moon which will turn electricity into microwaves which are subsequently transmitted to Earth, and converted back to electricity.

We of Republic of Lagrangia aren’t convinced of the desirability and feasibility of SBSP for terrestrial purposes. We have discussed this topic earlier on this blog. And we have also written about Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion as a solution of Japan’s energy crisis. As an alternative we have discussed Solar Energy Islands as a method of producing energy at sea.

Solar Islands and Seasteading

Some time ago we wrote about the feasibility of Space based Solar power (SBSP) for terrestrial use, in that post we argued that SBSP is an unlikely candidate for meeting terrestrial energy needs both because of expected negative reactions from the public and the presence of suitable alternatives. One of those alternatives we mentioned were so-called solar islands.

A few years ago we wrote a sceptical article about seasteading. One of our arguments against seasteading was about their economic suitability. We argued that seasteads had poor economic prospects, with the consequence of a lack of interest from potential investors. However, solar islands might change this.

As we have argued in an earlier post, the ocean might be a good place for producing synthetic fuels. According to this site seawater contains 15.1% CO2 against 0.03% in air, thus CO2 can easily be extracted from seawater. Energy provided either by solar islands or ocean thermal conversion, can be used to produce hydrogen gas. From CO2 we can produce CO, and from CO and hydrogen we can make synthetic fuels. These fuels can be exported to other places.

The off-shore production of synthetic fuels might be a raison d’être of seasteads. However, it’s doubtful whether the political ideals associated with seasteading can be realised if seasteaders would specialize them in synthetic fuel production. It will depend on who is providing the funding for these projects, if corporations or governments are the primary investors in seasteads then the pursuit of liberty might be jeopardized.

Soon we will discuss the colonization of Antarctica.