In the Inderscience publication International Journal of Global Environmental Issues, Roelof Dirk Schuiling of Utrecht University in The Netherlands and his colleagues discuss the costs and benefits of one of the potentially most ambitious engineering projects ever.
Present technology allows us to shift and shape the earth on a relatively large scale and to control lakes and reservoirs for hydroelectric power generation. In the near future, however, it might be possible to build dams large enough to separate a body of water as large as the Red Sea, from the world oceans. A similar macro-scale engineering project is already planned for the Strait of Hormuz at the entrance of the Persian Gulf. This seawater barrier will exploit the evaporative cycle and influx of seawater to generate vast quantities of electricity.
Geochemical engineer Schuiling suggests that a dam Bab-al-Mandab could be used to stem the inflow of seawater into the highly evaporative Red Sea with the potential of generating 50 gigawatts of power. By comparison, the Drax group of coal-fired power stations in the North of England has a maximum capacity of less than 4 gigawatts and the Palo Verde nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear station in the US has an output of 3.2 gigawatts. The scale of the Bab-al-Mandab dam project dwarves these facilities significantly in terms of capacity.
"Such a project will dramatically affect the region’s economy, political situation and ecology, and their effects may be felt well beyond the physical and political limits of the project," says Schuiling.
Schuiling and his colleagues point out that the cost and timescales involved in creating such a hydroelectric facility are way beyond normal economical considerations. It is inevitable that such a macro-engineering project will cause massive devastation of existing ecologies. However, it will also provide enormous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as offering a viable, sustainable alternative to fossil fuels for future generations. The ethical and environmental dilemmas are on an international scale, while the impact on ecology, tourism, fisheries, transport and other areas could have effects globally.
The researchers point out that the precautionary principle cannot be applied in making a decision regarding the damming of the Red Sea. "If the countries around the Red Sea decide in favour of the macro-project, it is their responsibility to limit the negative consequences as much as possible," they conclude.
New research calculates capacity of North American forests to sequester carbon
16.07.2018 | University of California - Santa Cruz
Scientists discover Earth's youngest banded iron formation in western China
12.07.2018 | University of Alberta
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering