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Jnana Bhaskar Rao

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To use solar heat and pressure at low ocean depths to create an oversized heron's fountain.

For those of you who don't know what the heron's fountain is, it was the first illusion of a perpetual motion mechanism (PMM) and it came nearly 3 millenia ago! You can just google it up, its nothing difficult to understand. But it started me thinking, what if the fountain could be made perpetual(not PMM though)? We can use that fountain to run a turbine and its gonna be as clean an energy source as any. All you need to do is raise water through a height. But does it have sufficient power to be a useful energy source, you ask? It does if you are talking about using pressures at ocean depths of about 2-3 kms where the pressure is about 20-30 atm. You can use the sun to work against this pressure. Ordinarily the sun is not an option due to its weak intensity and large area requirements. But here we are talking about 66% of the earth's cover (Oceans). Any one who thinks they can make a fountain or a similar hydraulic turbine using these two sources is welcome to suggest here!

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  • Oct 18 2013: All of what you said is true, there are great limitations with traditional solar, i do no argue that. I understand that molten salt is used in focused solar arrays to extend viable energy production time, however, the question must boil down to the cost benefit analysis of pollution vs energy production. The WHO just released a report showing a link between air pollution and cancer. Air pollution is also a major contributor to global warming and ocean acidification. I was merely replying to the original post that discussed the heron's fountain. I was questioning it's viability vs traditional solar, vs other methods of electricity generation. To be honest I don't know enough to make a qualified statement on the viability, just based on my preliminary assessment it seems that a traditional solar/other renewables is the best way since the research is already there to support them.
  • Oct 17 2013: there wouldn't be any benefit that wouldn't be solved by traditional methods of solar. Focused solar arrays would be much more efficient and you could make one that floats if you wanted to. Oceans have better energy production means like wave action generators, offshore wind, and tidal systems. Solar's downfall is that the sun only shines an average of 12 hrs/day
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      Oct 18 2013: The problem with solar energy is it just fails to compete with the conventional methods in terms of power generation capacity.Even the largest solar plant has a capacity of less than 300 MW. While the average non-renewable power plants are built for a capacity of nearly 1000-2000 MW(larger ones being 4000+ in capacity). So it is a fair argument that unless we find a way to make more out of solar it won't have much appeal.The idea to involve oceans is to enhance this capacity and in light of the fact that ocean pressure is also an untapped resource.Maybe it is not the answer but traditional methods have to be improved by atleast 10X before they become a viable option.As for the 12 hr problem, salt has been found to be one of the best sources to store the Sun's heat and the oceans contain more than enough of that.
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    Oct 16 2013: .

    Biologically, yes!
    It is symbiosis:
    , parenting (primary symbiosis),
    . marriage (primary symbiosis),
    . friends (secondary symbiosis),
    . ....

    Otherwise, no!
    .
  • Oct 15 2013: Using the sun's energy to raise any significant amount of water would require a huge surface area.
    The problem isn't ocean real-estate, the problem is the construction work involved. The whole business would be immense, and extremely expensive, both in initial building cost and maintenance.

    In short, not very cost efficient.
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      Oct 15 2013: Sure it will be. But first I want people to think of a way it would be possible. Whatever is costly today is so because other fuels are cheaper. Barring nuclear power, and extremely polluting coal, tar sands and oil shales every other power source is expected to be extinguished by 2100. Unless we succeed in generating a fusion reaction in the ITER, we are looking at an acute power crisis in a world that is becoming overly dependent on technology in the coming 100 years. So if we can use the sun and gravity to generate power, we extend the deadline by nearly 5 billion years (the sun's expected life).And sun does provide more energy every day than what we use every year so it means providing enough to meet any astronomical rise in power consumption in the future.
      • Oct 16 2013: Trying to solve humanity's problems a hundred years in advance is a fool's errand.
        On the one hand, we may have nuclear fusion in a 100 years, or civilization might have collapsed in the meantime. There's no way to know what technology will be available and what problems we'll face.

        There's long term thinking, and then there's thinking so long term, it'll never come to fruition due to unexpected developments (with the future being what it is, there are always unexpected developments).
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          Oct 18 2013: I concede there is some amount of wishful thinking involved in hoping to solve the problems by one method of power generation that will ensure power forever.But the reality of the situation is we do need to switch to solar and other renewable energy sources and look towards a future without coal or gas because global warming is a real thing! I think this year was the one in which global climatic change did actually set in.Weather patterns went haywire all over my country and from what I have gathered all around the world.What I am saying is the drive to switch from conventional fuels to renewable should be greater and more urgent than it is.And i stand by my conviction that the answer lies in the sun whenever we come to a decision to abandon the polluting means.
      • Oct 21 2013: To be honest, I have my doubts concerning the man-made nature of global warming.

        The climatologists all have a vested interest in fear mongering (their budgets rose by two orders of magnitude in the past two decades as a direct result--most people didn't even know what a climatologist was before the whole global warming scare). It doesn't help that speaking out against global warming can actually get you fired in certain academic circles--squeaky wheel gets the kick.
        The media will play along with anything sensationalist. Again, that's how they make their money.
        Politicians love a bandwagon to jump on. Being a global issue that no one actually expects them to single handy solve makes for an enticing target--easier to make empty promises.
        And finally there are people selling green technology, and they have their own lobbyists and public relations just like the fossil fuel companies.

        It doesn't help that the actual CO2 vs temperature graph isn't quite so straight forward as it seems.
        Zoomed out over the course of tens of thousands of years, the two match. Though this could very well be because the oceans spit out dissolved CO2 when they heat up as opposed to CO2 causing heating. Correlation does not necessitate causation.
        Zoomed in to the last couple of decades, and they actually don't match all that well. The earth was actually cooling for several decades of the past century (up until the seventies, climatologists were worried about a new ice age), while CO2 emissions have shot straight up throughout.

        Add to that oil predicted to last for a few more decades, coal and gas for centuries, and Uranium for even longer, and it really doesn't seem all that grim.
        Again, try to solve more immediate problems. Predicting the distant future is a fool's errand.