In the not so distant future, the power we need could very well be provided by floating solar power plants that are offshore. Wind farms have become very popular in recent years and now experts are looking at ways to create sustainable energy without having to develop land. The solution: use the sea to house these structures.
The Vienna University of Technology is currently working on such a technology. They are calling it the Heliofloat. It consists of a seafaring solar power station that has an open bottom and is flexible, about the size of a football field. Interestingly, they are designing them so that multiple platforms can conjoin to create a solar power grid, if need be.
Rugged in their design, the floats will not capsize even in severe weather. Constructed using barrels to stay afloat with an open bottom that traps air, the floatables also prevent capsizing during even the worst of storms.
There's no word yet on when these new contraptions will be able to power our homes and businesses, but it's a pretty innovative and cool idea nonetheless. Power starved states that border the sea, like California, would greatly benefit from the ability to offer sustainable energy to residents from floating power stations.
With ample and nearly unending ocean real estate, power companies wouldn't have to worry about buying costly buildings and land and maintaining them. Of course, with sustainable energy there is also no risk of a nuclear meltdown or of carbon emissions from older coal-burning power plants.
Unlike wind farms, which require frequent maintenance and that necessitate wide swaths of land to harness the power of the weather to create energy, these devices do not. One could literally construct and connect them at a comparable low cost and send them off to sea.
What would be even cooler is if engineers devised a way for these floatables to scrape up and collect floating ocean debris simultaneously. Could you imagine how awesome a sustainable energy source that was seafaring would be if it could also clean up the trash we have strewn our waterways with at the same time?
Just some food for thought.