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Pitch

Solar powered, RPV airships, that collect water from ocean clouds, and deposit in desert cisterns, for irrigation, or drinking water.


Description

Summary

My idea envisions desert countries with ocean boundaries, sponsoring an airbase with hangars that would house solar powered, remotely piloted (or autonomously piloted) airships, that would take off and fly out over the ocean, in seek of rain clouds far from shore. The airship would then vacuum the cloud, absorbing the water, and preventing it from being rained on the ocean and contributing to desalination. The water would be stored in a bladder in the airship, and once the bladder was full/maximum load capacity of the airship was reached, it would return to the desert country, and using an extendable probe system, similar to how the US military accomplishes in-flight refueling, would hover over large water towers/cisterns, depositing the water, which could then be used for irrigation, or drinking supply. Once the water has been deposited, the airship could retract the hose, and return to the airbase for maintenance, or immediately be sent back out over the ocean for another cloud collection mission.

Based on some admittedly, very unscientific Google searches, large 21 ton conventional airships can lift approximately 23 additional tons. As water weighs approximately 8.34 pounds per gallon, one conventional airship of that size could carry approximately 5,500 gallons of water. A conventional airship would also have a crew however, which would take up a significant amount of weight. A solar powered airship would add weight from the solar panels, and additional electronics and equipment needed to accomplish the intended mission, but would likely be made up for by eliminating the need for a crew. Unmanned solar powered airships already exist, so the technology, I expect, is already at a state that would make this possible. Whether or not there are already solar powered, remotely piloted or autonomous airship models in production that would be sufficient size to make my idea feasible however, I am unsure.


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About the author(s)

Chris Gallagher - Climate CoLab profile - CG7245

Country of residence: USA

Involvement in the implementation of the proposal: Thought it up while out for a walk around the block.


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