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Solar breeder

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Solar breeder

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More recently, universities in Japan and Algeria have launched a joint initiative called the Sahara Solar Breeder Project, with the incredibly ambitious goal to "build enough solar power stations by 2050 to supply 50 per cent of the energy used by humanity". The plan is to build a solar breeder in the Sahara desert, and convert sand there to silicon wafers used in solar panels:

The project was first proposed by Hideomi Koinuma from the Science Council of Japan, at the 2009 G8+5 Academies' Meeting in Rome:

  • G8+5 Academies' Meeting; Rome, 26 - 27 March 2009, Programme, Accademia Nazionale de Lincei.

Despite many news reports on this project, details are hard to find, so it is difficult to tell how seriously to take it.

Comments

  • 1.

    In theory it can reproduce exponentially, hence the name ‘breeder’.

    Why is the name "breeder" associated with an exponentially increase in production, isn't a breeder simply a power plant that produces (a part of ) its own fuel ?

    In pratice there will be a lot of limitations (manpower, gear, gas) that will hinder an exponential increase in production, of course :-)

    Comment Source:<blockquote> <p> In theory it can reproduce exponentially, hence the name ‘breeder’. </p> </blockquote> Why is the name "breeder" associated with an exponentially increase in production, isn't a breeder simply a power plant that produces (a part of ) its own fuel ? In pratice there will be a lot of limitations (manpower, gear, gas) that will hinder an exponential increase in production, of course :-)
  • 2.

    I think it's simply that the conventional usage is different between nuclear reactors and renewables. I suppose in strict accuracy it's only nuclear which can be said to breed further amounts of its own fuel.

    Comment Source:I think it's simply that the conventional usage is different between nuclear reactors and renewables. I suppose in strict accuracy it's only nuclear which can be said to breed further amounts of its own fuel.
  • 3.

    I suppose there's no need for "breeder" to signify exponential growth, but 1) rabbits breed and grow in numbers exponentially, and 2) I think this is what people are aiming for in the Sahara Solar Breeder Project.

    Of course "exponential" is just a rough approximation, but if you can build a machine that builds two copies of itself, pretty soon you might have a lot of them.

    Comment Source:I suppose there's no need for "breeder" to signify exponential growth, but 1) rabbits breed and grow in numbers exponentially, and 2) I think this is what people are aiming for in the Sahara Solar Breeder Project. Of course "exponential" is just a rough approximation, but if you can build a machine that builds two copies of itself, pretty soon you might have a lot of them.
  • 4.

    But what the Japanese plan is simply to use solar power plants as an energy source for building more plants, there is a lot more needed to build a plant. I don't think that we'll ever see exponential growth of power plants in the Sahara.

    BTW, I hope that does not sound too natioinalistic, but my impression is that the DESERTEC people have a far more realistic approach than the Japanese. Or maybe the Japanese try to attract attention to their project by voicing over-ambitious plans.

    Comment Source:But what the Japanese plan is simply to use solar power plants as an energy source for building more plants, there is a lot more needed to build a plant. I don't think that we'll ever see exponential growth of power plants in the Sahara. BTW, I hope that does not sound too natioinalistic, but my impression is that the DESERTEC people have a far more realistic approach than the Japanese. Or maybe the Japanese try to attract attention to their project by voicing over-ambitious plans.
  • 5.

    I'm wondering if possibly that one Japanese professor I mentioned was trying to attract attention to his project by making bold claims. On the web, I was unable to find names of any other people associated to this project!

    On the other hand, I don't read Japanese.

    Comment Source:I'm wondering if possibly that one Japanese professor I mentioned was trying to attract attention to his project by making bold claims. On the web, I was unable to find names of any other people associated to this project! On the other hand, I don't read Japanese.
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