Clusters of "solar methanol islands" could be used to extract carbon dioxide from seawater and convert the gas into methanol fuel. Huge solar farms floating in the ocean could be used to convert carbon dioxide in seawater into methanol, a fuel that can power airplanes, trucks and other long-haul vehicles. That’s the takeaway from provocative new research suggesting that such “solar methanol islands” could curb our reliance on fossil fuels that belch harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. “This is just one of the many things we should be doing to control climate change, along with having better insulation in our homes, having higher efficiency in car engines and driving electric vehicles,” said Bruce Patterson, a physicist at the University of Zurich and co-author of a paper about the research published June 3 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences . “This is just one piece of a mosaic.” The floating solar farms described in the paper would consist of clusters of about 70 circular solar panel “islands” covering an area of roughly one square kilometer (0.4 square mile). Electricity produced by the panels would be used to split water molecules into hydrogen, which would then […]


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