Sunday, December 02, 2007

Using the desert to generate power

Just imagine if the sun in the Sahara was tapped for energy using the increasingly popular mirror-steam-turbine technology (which in a few years will be supplying all the energy for Valencia)? Its relatively low technology, supplanting photo-voltaics as the best way of generating energy from the sun.

Now the EU wants to tap into North African sun - to generate up to a sixth of its energy needs.

With visionary leadership, Nigeria could develop its own large scale solar plants, providing cheap, zero-carbon energy where there is none. This could be a real competitive advantage for the North, where there is plenty of land, and plenty of sun...


Anonymous,  2:01 pm  

"Competitive advantage for the North"?

You need some form of education to make use of this 'advantage'. The North remains one of the worst educated parts of Africa, so no yarn any dust about competitive advantage.

anengiyefa 4:12 pm  

Anonymous, thats a non-issue, because there's no single part of Nigeria where there is a shortage of land and sun. This North/South dichotomy is something we should be moving way from in our generation. I find it too divisive, and all we do is create and engender discord. And you know what? I'm not even a northener!

Simon McIntyre 4:13 pm  

What's the efficiency like on these? I know photovoltaic cell fields need to be enormous to generate decent amounts of power.

Also how does Europe plan to transfer the electricity from the desert to where it's needed. Long distance transfer of electricity is terribly inefficient.

Mike,  7:57 pm  


Not wanting to be contrary or miss the point:

efficiency is about 17% depending on maufacturer then you have to take into account local solarity - but apparently just 2% of the Sahara's land area can generate enough solar power to meet the power demands of the world, however your last paragraph hits the nail on the head. Transmission (and security) is still a major problem.

Anengiyefa there is a difference in solarity between north and south just like there is more rain in the south than the north. Political correctness won't change that. Acceptance rathter than denial of such differences is where the future lies.

Thorium would probably be a positive power future for developed(?) nations and relatively safe but I guess it will be stuck between the political right (it doesn't produce weapons grade material) and the left (closed minds - the word nuclear is not politically correct).

Anonymous I think that solar power requires capital and not quite as much education as you imply. One wonders what your people must have been thinking to allow the 'worst educated parts of Africa' (indeed) to dominate the nation's politics for the best part of 40 years. Were you sleeping?

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS 8:05 pm  

And then they will charge us for using our land as a base for their operations...
when will our leaders open their eyes and do something for their people?

Dami 8:15 pm  

simon, apparently, with just 5% efficiency, a solar field the size of three Nigerian states can provide just enough energy for the country- according to the minister/consultants at the just concluded alternative energy 'summit' we just need to cancel zamfara state,yola and one other one and voila power everywhere!

Anengiyefa 10:17 pm  

Mike, it is because the differences between north and south have been over emphasised in our national life, that we find ourselves in the unfortunate position that we are. This is not about political correctness, neither is it about denying that there are indeed differences.

There is a definite (and desperate) need for us to genuinely see the whole population of the country as being true Nigerians, irrespective of whatever part of the country a person's genes are from.

There is also the need for us to come to really believing that the whole country is one nation. Being stalled in under-development is the outcome of our failure so far to do so.

Anonymous,  2:55 pm  

All this talk of solar energy, one should be wary.

The government there has a penchant for prestige projects, that are poorly maintaned and don't deliver the desired result.

Before the whole of Central and Northern Nigeria - go crazy over solar it should be piloted, maintained and managed and the benefits shown to the locals.

Solar energy has been tried in regards to a school in Abuja, it failed and has not worked.

"For example, the solar chargers strapped to the roof of Galadima school had been not set up correctly - we were told they were "misaligned" - and are useless."

culled from

There have been many projects set up in the past, that took lots of money and never existed at all.

anonymaus,  12:33 am  

I'm in total agreement with you. Differences are over-played and exaggerated and used to extend the stagnation that pervades the country.

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