We propose the utilization of the entire solar spectrum by redirecting solar photons to maximize food, energy, and water (FEW) production from a given land area. nature
Although the production of FEW resources can be highly connected, current practice mostly focuses on addressing individual or binary combinations of the FEW nexus. Each binary nexus within the FEW nexus has its own challenges that are compounded in the system as a whole.
Estimates show that averaged over the entire year, PV parks in northern Europe deliver 4–5 W/m², whereas Britain and Germany’s rate of energy consumption based on total land area in each country is 1.25 W/m² . Therefore, in a solar-powered world economy, the land area needed to meet the local energy need will often be an order of magnitude higher than the commonly used ~2% figure.
We present novel solar spectrum unbundling FEW systems (SUFEWS), which can meet FEW needs locally while reducing the overall environmental impact of meeting these needs.
Conceptual implementation of SUFEWS in which photons are managed over crop/pasture land to simultaneously and harmoniously produce FEW products.
Water from sources such as underground, ocean, river, lake, ponds, and field runoff enter water purification units, which are powered by the heat and electricity generated.
The purified water is then used for irrigation and urban needs. The salt or contamination-rich water leaving the purification units is sent for further processing/recycling/disposal.
Similarly, electricity generated is used for agricultural production, with the excess being exported for use in population centers.
Meanwhile, the supply of food products is unaffected.
See CO₂-to-Fuels Platform for a similarly technologically exotic solar system but one that works from quite different assumptions: waste CO₂ biologically turned to liquid fuel. Who is thinking further into our future?