Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by Cactus on Monday February 17 2014, @07:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the It's-getting-hot-in-here dept.
similar_name writes:

As part of a project developed by San Francisco area start-up WaterFX, a giant solar receiver in Firebaugh, CA, rotates to track the sun and capture its energy. The 377-foot array, however, does not generate electricity, but instead creates heat used to desalinate water. The goal is to tap the abundant, if contaminated, resource in this parched region: the billions of gallons of water that lie just below the surface.

The water is tainted with toxic levels of salt, selenium and other heavy metals that wash down from the nearby Panoche foothills, and is so polluted that it must be constantly drained to keep it from poisoning crops. This, coupled with the record-breaking drought that California is facing means that irrigation costs are going to double or triple as farms are forced to buy water on the spot market.

"Food prices are going to go up, absolutely", said Dennis Falaschi, manager of the Panoche Water District. "This year, farmers in the Panoche district will receive no water. Last year, they received only 20 percent of their allocation", Mr. Falaschi said. In 2012, the allocation was 40 percent. Farmers elsewhere who rely on the State Water Project to irrigate 750,000 acres of farmland will also receive no water in 2014.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by NovelUserName on Monday February 17 2014, @10:36PM

    by NovelUserName (768) on Monday February 17 2014, @10:36PM (#1134)

    I think the point of the proposed plant is that distillation is a pretty cheap thing to set up and run compared to filtration methods. I'm guessing the fact that it's power inefficient doesn't quite make up the difference in cost.

    I've been intrigued by aquapoincs [] for a while, so I'm slightly familiar but not an expert. I thought that most of the high-density water-based crop technologies used greenhouses because the costs to locally generate power for grow-lights were infeasible. The other issue with these solutions is the nutrient stock- generating the chemicals for a hydroponic solution, or the fish-food in aquaponics systems means you've just pushed the environmental effects off one tier. For commercial farming this might not be a big downside since they currently use all the chemicals anyway, and waste a bunch of water on top of that.

    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +1  
       Interesting=1, Total=1
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Khyber on Monday February 17 2014, @10:59PM

    by Khyber (54) on Monday February 17 2014, @10:59PM (#1151) Journal

    The costs of LEDs have come WAY down, their efficiencies have gone WAY UP (hovering at 50% efficiency power in/light out) and the feasibility of solar powering the entire thing is better than good. That much has been solved.

    Pushing the environmental effects off one tier may not be necessary. The desalination plant itself could use the harvested salts and make fertilizer from them (after a bit of centrifugal processing to remove many of the heavier metals) and have another useful product. Look up SEA-90 to see what I mean.

    Destroying Semiconductors With Style Since 2008, and scaring you ill-educated fools since 2013.