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Rockingit

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I've put this here rather than the solar forum as it's more an 'interest' thread than a techy one.

I was travelling back from a job in the middle east yesterday, and passing through one of the airports I saw a series of advertising posters for HSBC - those supposedly inspiring future technology and emerging markets to tempt you to give the thieving mongrels even more of your money. Anyway, one of them said something like '0.3% of the Middle Easts solar energy capability could provide enough power for the whole of Europe'. Well, given the climate and geography of the area that may well be true (or close to it). But.... and here's what got me thinking..... how on earth would you get the electricity produced from one continent to another, across roughly 4,000 miles of sea and land? If you built a 'super-super grid' then I guess the physics might be do-able if we pushed the voltages up into the Mega Volt range.... but then, unlike oil and gas which need to be shipped and can be stored, the solar energy is instantaneous - so one little petty politics scrap and someone turns off the switch and we all go dark!

So, there's clearly issues and practicalities, but the more I thought about it the more it seems to make sense - when their oil runs out, the sunshine takes over - and a handful of countries will ALWAYS have the upper hand!
 
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I often have thought about this whilst sitting on a balcony in Spain. The place is near as damn a desert and is sunny for most of the year so why isn't there fields full of pv panels. They could be supplying most of Europe and it could certainly help with their debt problems too. Also they are politically a lot more stable (in theory) than the middle east.
 

HandySparks

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Might solve part of the storage and transport issues by using some of the power to split hydrogen from water and then transport that in ships. Not sure how difficult/expensive it is to store hydrogen in bulk, but it's certainly easy enough in modest amounts. Also easy and clean to use at the other end of the distribution chain.
 
E

Engineer54

I've put this here rather than the solar forum as it's more an 'interest' thread than a techy one.

I was travelling back from a job in the middle east yesterday, and passing through one of the airports I saw a series of advertising posters for HSBC - those supposedly inspiring future technology and emerging markets to tempt you to give the thieving mongrels even more of your money. Anyway, one of them said something like '0.3% of the Middle Easts solar energy capability could provide enough power for the whole of Europe'. Well, given the climate and geography of the area that may well be true (or close to it). But.... and here's what got me thinking..... how on earth would you get the electricity produced from one continent to another, across roughly 4,000 miles of sea and land? If you built a 'super-super grid' then I guess the physics might be do-able if we pushed the voltages up into the Mega Volt range.... but then, unlike oil and gas which need to be shipped and can be stored, the solar energy is instantaneous - so one little petty politics scrap and someone turns off the switch and we all go dark!

So, there's clearly issues and practicalities, but the more I thought about it the more it seems to make sense - when their oil runs out, the sunshine takes over - and a handful of countries will ALWAYS have the upper hand!
It certainly does make sense, ...there are many other parts of the world where solar power could be made to work for everyone. Unfortunately most of those areas are unstable politically, so the big multi nationals who would otherwise be biting at the bit, are not jumping into the arena just yet!!....

Did you also notice Rockingit, that you don't see the Arab Middle Eastern countries making use of solar water heating, except maybe on a few government projects. (Same goes for making use of PV panels) They would rather use these multi KW electric water heaters for there needs... Always quite amazed me that....
 

Rockingit

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Yes, I've observed that a few times when over there, that they'd still rather burn oil for energy. Although, the Emirates do, perversely, seem to be running quite an advertising campaign on energy efficiency, ozone depletion etc and they are MASSIVE on led lighting and eco infrastructure. But I guess they have a strong interest in not depleting the ozone layer due to skin cancer rates!!

It is kind of refreshing though to see petrol for 20p a litre!!!!
 
E

Engineer54

It is kind of refreshing though to see petrol for 20p a litre!!!!
And still making a profit!! lol!!!

Just goes to show how much your being fleeced by both the government taxes and oil companies overseas profit...
 
My brother has done and is still doing a lot of work in sub saharan Africa, he tells me that a lot of very poor countries like Burkina Fasso are getting money pumped into them, presumably by the Chinese, to set up massive PV farms so they can have something valuable to sell and (hopefully) benefit the population as a whole.
Mind you any revenue generated will most likely be vacuumed up by the guys at the top
 
E

Engineer54

My brother has done and is still doing a lot of work in sub saharan Africa, he tells me that a lot of very poor countries like Burkina Fasso are getting money pumped into them, presumably by the Chinese, to set up massive PV farms so they can have something valuable to sell and (hopefully) benefit the population as a whole.
Mind you any revenue generated will most likely be vacuumed up by the guys at the top
If it's anything like all the rest of the African countries, You can bet your bottom dollar on it!! lol!!
 
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