The Global View

Energy Island makes a play for Virgin cash

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You could spend time on a beautiful Pacific Island lazing around, working on your tan, dipping your toes in the azure waters and startling the fish, maybe have a cocktail or two. You could, of course, do that. Or you could blanket the thing in wind turbines and wave power generators as Alex Michaelis wants to.

Alex Michaelis, so The Guardian tells us, has dreamed up the concept of Energy Islands and will be trying to tempt some cash out of bearded knight Sir Richard Branson and his Virgin Earth Prize.

His proposal […] is to build archipelagos of artificial islands that will produce electricity, clean water and even food in the belt of warm water that passes from the Caribbean across to the south China Sea, the Indian Ocean and west Africa.

Each island would be built on a floating platform and at its centre would be a plant that converts heat from the tropical sea into electricity and drinking water. Below deck would be marine turbines to harness energy from underwater currents and around the edge floating devices to provide wave power.

Vegetable farms and homes for workers will complete the colony and the power will be piped back to be used on the nearest populated land mass.

There’s all that and even more good stuff, including the ability to generate electricity from sea water, where the seabed is drastically cooler than the surface. Alas, Michaelis could be in for a bit of a wait to see if he’s got his hands on the bearded one’s pocket change to the tune of $25m, as the closing date for the prize is 2010.

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