Online Journal of Space Communication


Seawater desalination has existed for decades as a proven technology for supplying water in coastal areas; however, desalination processes are energy intensive and this has reduced their widespread use. It is noted that California offshore oil and gas platforms already use seawater desalination to produce fresh water for platform personnel and equipment.

This visualization draws on the proposal that, as California coastal oil and gas platforms come to the end of their productive lives, they be re-commissioned for use as large-scale fresh water production facilities. Solar arrays, mounted on off-shore platforms, are able to provide some of the power needed for seawater desalination during the daytime. However, for efficient fresh water production, a facility must be operated 24 hours a day.

The use of solar power transmitted from orbiting solar power satellites (SPS) to substantially augment the solar array power generated from natural sunlight is a feasible concept. As the visualization shown below illustrates, space satellites in geosynchronous orbit (GEO) will enable 24 hours a day operations for fresh water production through seawater desalination. Production of industrial quantities of fresh water on re-commissioned oil and gas platforms, using energy transmitted from solar power satellites, is a breakthrough concept for addressing the pressing climate, water, and economic issues of the 21st Century using space assets.

Advisors: Brandon Flayler, Kent Tobiska, Prof. Don Flournoy



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