Desperation often yields innovation. In Japan, fear of rising food prices and low fish stocks has led scientists to create the “eco-rig”.
The eco-rig, which is actually a giant floating generator, uses solar and wind power to produce approximately 300 MWh. Though some energy is lost moving the electricity onshore, the effect is the same as with a nuclear power station.
And the eco-rig does more than just produce power.
A portion of the energy produced on each rig will be used to fuel large underwater banks of LEDs . The LED’s will nurture selected species of seaweed that both absorb CO2 and feed fish and plankton—hopefully replenishing the dwindling Japanese fish stocks.
The rigs will be unmanned, and will have have large nets designed to support wind turbines as well as photovoltaic generators placed between them.
We won’t have to wait long to see the eco-rigs in action— scientists involved in the project believe that large-scale deployment is about three years away. If the eco-rigs are successful in Japan, I see no reason why they can’t be used elsewhere in the world to provide both energy and food security.
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