Artist’s conception of solar islands in the open ocean. PNAS Millions of solar panels clustered together to form an island could convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, which can fuel airplanes and trucks, according to new research from Norway and Switzerland and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal, PNAS , as NBC News reported. The floating islands could drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The paper argues that the technology exists to build the floating methanol islands on a large scale in areas of the ocean free from large waves and extreme weather. Areas of the ocean off the coasts of South America, North Australia, the Arabian Gulf and Southeast Asia are particularly suitable for mooring these islands. "A massive reduction in CO 2 emissions from fossil fuel burning is required to limit the extent of global warming. However, carbon-based liquid fuels will in the foreseeable future continue to be important energy storage media. We propose a combination of largely existing technologies to use solar energy to recycle atmospheric CO 2 into a liquid fuel," the study authors wrote in PNAS . The paper suggests floating islands are similar […]

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