The Next Generation
Hidden Potential of the Sun
As an Energy Supply Base
One of the most anticipated alternative energy sources for the next generation is solar energy, which is virtually limitless and pollution-free.
The desert possesses the optimum meteorological conditions to function as a supply base for solar energy. The duration of sunshine in the desert is 2 to 3 times longer than anywhere in Japan. In addition to abundant energy, the vast expanse of area allows for mass production, while, at the same time, it helps to hold down the cost of generating energy.
For example, the estimated world demand for electricity in the year 2000 (oil conversion: 14 billion kiloliters/year) could be easily covered by installing solar cells covering only 4% (650,000 km²) of the total area of deserts on the Earth.
As Food-Supply Base
In order to solve the worldwide food shortage, the development of a vast network of farmland is essential. Therefore, the desert, which accounts for one-third of the land on the Earth, is expected to be an important base for food supply. The water issue must be resolved in order to convert desert land into farmland. Irrigation technology which utilizes the abundant underground water stored in the desert has been under development for some time. Solar power has a critical role to play in development of water sources, including underground water.
To Prevent Desertification
Deserts are gradually expanding, owing to various artificial factors which ignore the ecosystem of deserts. Our proposal to develop energy and farmland begins first with stabilizing the desert, thus enabling the desert to continue developing in perfect harmony with the ecosystem.
A First Step China
We have been conducting a model study on development of a large-scale solar power station and farmland at a desert location in China.
China, the world's most populous country, is now facing serious shortages of energy and food. In addition, China is virtually dependent on coal as its sole energy source, thus incurring serious health risks from air pollution, acid rain, as well as desertification of its arable lands. Development of the desert areas in China could greatly contribute to China's economic growth, and, at the same time, have a far-reaching influence on the overall Asian economy by promoting related industries, including agriculture, and community development. We believe that our project will be a significant first step toward solving the various pressing ecological issues which effect us all on a global level.
Outline of Development
The illustration is an artist's conception of the Desert Development Project. The power station topped with solar cells is positioned at the center, farmland and pasture land are located in the surrounding areas, and research and housing facilities are scattered along the windbreak forests and streets, which run in a grid. This layout will be repeated in future development sites and form a total network.
1. Windbreak/Sandbreak Forests
Forests and pastures ranging in width from several hundred meters to several kilometers will be created in order to stabilize sand dunes and protect the power station and farmland.
2. Solar power stations
Other Desert-Related Projects
Desert Dome Project
|This ambitious project involves covering an expansive portion of desert land with a huge dome, then growing plants inside the dome, where they will be protected from the effects of severe weather conditions. Once afforestation is stabilized within the dome, the dome itself will be moved to the next location. Various technologies which encourage growth of plants without damaging the ecosystem will be utilized, holding the Underground Irrigation System, Plant Vitality Monitoring System and Soil Improvement System.|
SRG (Silk Road Genesis*) Project
* Genesis= Global Energy Network Equipped with Solar Cells & International Superconductor Grids
|The Project involves construction of 50 solar power plants (solar power stations, total power capacity: 0.1 billion kW) in the desert near 40° north latitude (which has ideal sunlight conditions) and connecting Beijing and Moscow with a 10,000km superconductor cable. The project's aim is to build a solar power system on an international scale.|
|*This concept was presented by the SRG research group, whose members include TOKYU KENSETSU (governing company), SANYO DENKI, TAKENAKA KOMUTEN, TOSHIBA, and MAEDA KENSETSU KOGYO.|