[extropy-chat] Terraforming Earth [WAS: FWD (SK) TheComingClimateCollapse]

Spike spike66 at comcast.net
Sat Feb 14 00:08:50 UTC 2004

> Mike Lorrey
> There is an interesting technique using vacuum desalination that is
> extremely energy efficient comparted to conventional sea level
> evaporative distillaion... The bow end of the U
> is a hundred or more feet in the air, and the air inside the U is
> pumped out...
> Using passive solar heating, this could be made entirely automatic and
> provide a significant flow of fresh water... Mike Lorrey

Cool idea Mike!  Nowthen for you water infrastructure fans,
use your imagination for the following design experiment.  
Assume you want to distill seawater, but you do not want to
supply actual power to run pumps.  You are on a seacoast
and you may build any static structures you wish.
You may use valves, powered or otherwise, locks, 
trenches of any length, width and depth, glass and steel
with sufficient precision to hold a vaccum, any passive 
device you want, and of course you may use heat from the
sun to evaporate the water, but not to generate
electricity to run pumps.  You may take advantage of
the tides and tidal resonance, for instance by making
a long narrow inlet to amplify tidal effects the way the 
Bay of Fundy in Canada uses passive tidal resonance to 
make those 20+ meter tidal changes.
The resulting fresh water need not be at a higher
elevation than the average sea level, but the surface
of the fresh water must not be lower than the low tide
surface of the sea.  Higher is better.  Recall that an 
atmosphere is about 10 meters of water. One can estimate 
the maximum possible output of the plant by knowing that 
the sunlight at the equator is (close enough for single
digit precision) a kilowatt per square meter peak, and 
that the heat of vaporization of water is about 
540K calories per liter and a calorie is about 4 joules. 

Your mission: design a desalination plant that works
entirely on heat from the sun, the tides and passive
elements.  If you find a good design, your idea could
have enormous positive impact on the less developed


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