Optimizing the Integration of Solar Energy Harvesting With Seawater Greenhouses

Integrated Solar Harvesting, Just Above Greenhouses
Just Above Greenhouses Vapor-Sealed Joint With 160 Degree Rotation View Looking Up At The Roof Of The Greenhouse Bean Plants Growing Inside the Greenhouse Just Outside the Desalination Chamber Wheat Growing Just Outside the Greenhouse Desalination Chamber Algae-Derived Biofuel is Harvested in the Greenhouse's Most-Controlled Microclimate Full Integrated Solar Harvesting Proposal Concentrated Solar Thermal Tower is at the Far End of the Project And There Goes Another Day of Abundant Solar Energy Harvesting


Many experts agree that the most cost-effective means of scaling-up solar power is a concentrated solar thermal strategy that targets the world’s desert regions.  However, there are several barriers to this approach, notably the requirement for demineralized water to keep mirrors clean and the provision of adequate food and water for workers in extreme desert regions.  For this reason, many have suggested a simultaneous deployment of concentrated solar thermal technology with seawater greenhouses, which could address these issues by desalinating large quantities of seawater for drinking purposes, crop irrigation, and mirror cleaning. Additionally, cold sea water that is brought in for desalination can drive the cool end of the steam cycle, enhancing its efficiency while collecting the steam engine's waste heat to produce a more effective desalination of the seawater at a higher temperature.  I propose a further innovation on this scheme where the roof of the greenhouse is made of today’s standard low-e glass and reflects incoming infrared light not used by the greenhouse plants to a collector that preheats water for the steam cycle.  Accordingly, the greenhouse is kept cooler and more amenable to plants by keeping out infrared radiation that would otherwise be converted to heat and the concentrated solar thermal portion of the system becomes more efficient by taking in steam at a higher initial temperature.

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