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Anyone ever thought about generating power by allowing seawater to flood Death Valley via pipes?

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posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 09:55 PM
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I wasn't sure what forum to put this in. I heard Death Valley is 300 feet below sea level. After you filled some pipes with water, the water from the sea would naturally flow through the pipes from the sea to Death Valley. I imagine the area is huge and you could generate an enormous amount of power. If an inland sea was the result, would precipitation be beneficial to the area or maybe even recreational activity on a new inland sea?

This was just a crazy idea I had I wondered about. Maybe sea water is too corrosive for pipes, maybe concrete pipes or plastic would work better. Maybe creating an inland sea is not beneficial. Is there any need for so much extra power in the area?

What do you think? Is it totally impractical?




posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:00 PM
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reply to post by orionthehunter
 



I'm sure there is some kind of protected lizard or something that lives there that would prevent doing that. Interesting idea though.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:05 PM
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reply to post by orionthehunter
 


Then, when the water rose the 282 that is currently below sea level to be at sea level...what?

Water seeks its own level. (Then it stops seeking.)



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:06 PM
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Death Valley would fill up, and you'd be left with useless power generating equipment. I'd just as soon try to generate power from the Founding Fathers spinning in their graves...



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:08 PM
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reply to post by orionthehunter
 

Let me see if I understand you. The idea is to take sea water and make a big salt water lake where Death valley is. Death Valley is a very hot place. The water will evaporate, but the salt and other minerals will stay behind. The lake will become more and more salty, like the Dead Sea. Perhaps the minerals will accumulate on the bottom of the lake filling it and making it more and more shallow. Eventually, it might become Death Plain.

Or am I missing something?



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:13 PM
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reply to post by orionthehunter
 


Just google "the salton sea" you will learn something interesting.
I know I was floored as to how things all worked out as I thought it should have been a good thing.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:29 PM
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After reading about the Salton Sea, it doesn't sound very practical. Too much water flow would quickly fill up the inland sea and limit potential power generation since the water probably wouldn't evaporate quick enough. If you had a new large inland sea it would likely become very salty limiting it's use. For a second I thought what if you could build lots of expensive homes and businesses around the inland sea but I forgot it was California as well. It would probably become like The Salton Sea.

I did wonder if the water flowing into the area was less than the evaporation rate of water arriving, if it could become a source of power if it never completely flooded. I suppose to do anything on a massive scale, it takes a lot of water. I'm not sure how big Death Valley is. I just threw an idea out there without thinking about it. I was wondering if such a thing might be practical in Death Valley or somewhere else on the globe. Sounds like the answer is no.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:41 PM
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I see the Salton Sea is around 500 some square miles but Death Valley has over 3,000 square miles and a river already flows into it. Sounds like it has a lot of capacity to evaporate water flooding into the area.
en.wikipedia.org...

As far as actually implementing such a project, there would probably be some endangered lizard or rat or something blocking it. New thorium reactors will likely replace all of our uranium reactors making electricity clean and relatively cheap and much safer. I doubt this power would be cheap.
edit on 15/12/13 by orionthehunter because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 10:57 PM
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I am in agreement that Death Valley would be too small of an area and too far from the ocean to do something like this.

However!

There have been on again, off again attempts and plans to do this in the Qattara Depression of northern Africa! The Qattara Depression is an area about 7,500 square miles in size and an average altitude of 200 feet below sea level.

It began back about 100 years ago, with the plan to dig tunnels or run pipelines linking the depression with the Mediterranean Sea. The tunnels or pipelines would range from 30 to 50 miles and allow water to flow through, generating power. The water would then evaporate, leaving behind large salt flats. The level of the lake would be adjusted by controlling the inflow of water.

In the late 1950s, President Eisenhower attempted to create this system. It gained some traction, but like previous (and subsequent) attempts, it fizzled out. One of the ways that was later suggested to create the tunnels was through the use of peaceful nuclear explosions, such as those from Operation Plowshare. Once the severe consequences of the nuclear explosions were estimated, it lost Egyptian support and all other backers.

Here are the Wikipedia articles. Some pretty interesting stuff!

Qattara Depression Project
Operation Plowshare
Peaceful nuclear explosions
edit on 12/15/2013 by cmdrkeenkid because: Fixed a spelling error.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:18 PM
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I could actually see this working, but there is a catch. Everyone is correct that death valley will simply fill up, so the water needs to be returned to the ocean.

However, add a system of windpowered pumps (good old fashioned windmills) and voila it would work, although it would be more costly to set up in the first place.

Why add in windmill pumps? Direct generation of electricity from wind has one problem; the wind does not always blow and sometimes it blows so hard that the turbines shut off altogether.

If some science whizz crunched the numbers and calculated that wind would be effective say 80% of the time, they could make the pumping system effective enough to match so that an uninterrupted electricity supply would come from the inbound water and the intermittent outbound water flow would be high enough to stop the valley from filling too much.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:26 PM
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charles1952
reply to post by orionthehunter
 

Let me see if I understand you. The idea is to take sea water and make a big salt water lake where Death valley is. Death Valley is a very hot place. The water will evaporate, but the salt and other minerals will stay behind. The lake will become more and more salty, like the Dead Sea. Perhaps the minerals will accumulate on the bottom of the lake filling it and making it more and more shallow. Eventually, it might become Death Plain.

Or am I missing something?


Hello Charles,

You raise an interesting point here; the evaporation of the water in the newly created lake.

You will end up with a new micro climate as a result - evaporated water forms clouds and when those clouds get enough water in them, they cause..... rain.

So with my solution of returning the water to the ocean via windmill pumps combined with loss through evaporation the eventual result is a win - win actually.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:36 PM
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reply to post by markosity1973
 


The windmill pumps you suggest wouldn't be necessary if the inflow were to be controlled in the first place. All modern hydroelectric plants can control the flow of water through their turbines. I don't see why that would be different on this scale.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:41 PM
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reply to post by cmdrkeenkid
 


They would be there to return the water to the ocean. As Charles has pointed out, evaporation would get rid of some of the water, but as others have pointed out, the water will eventually fill the valley up and then generation would stop as it only works when water is falling from a height.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:50 PM
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reply to post by markosity1973
 


I understand that, but if the inflow is regulated the issue of the lake filling up is negated. What is left can evaporate leaving behind salt flats. Controlling the inflow with respect to evaporation would be easy to engineer when compared to the project as a whole. In other words, there would be no need to engineer a method of returning water to the sea. Evaporation would do the work. Check out the link about the Qattara Depression Project I posted above.
edit on 12/15/2013 by cmdrkeenkid because: Amended post.



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:55 PM
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reply to post by cmdrkeenkid
 


The problem with relying on evaporation is this;




Eventually this would result in a hypersaline lake or a salt pan as the water evaporates and leaves the salt it contains behind.


(from your wikipedia link)

We have salt pans here in Ausse - in Lake Eyre which is also such a place that this concept could work too. The idea behind pumping the water back out is to avoid those salt flats in the first place. Lake Eyre is a dead plain when it dries out (which is most of the time)

One could create a mini inland sea that was healthy and full of life and that would last virtually forever by recirculating the water back out to where it came from. By looking at it from a wholistic point of view rather that a short term gain for humanity only, everyone and everything could benefit from creating a new ecosystem that just happens to double as a power generation system. The size of the Valley would also not be a problem either as the water will go back out roughly as quickly as it goes back in.
edit on 16-12-2013 by markosity1973 because: add in quote



posted on Dec, 15 2013 @ 11:59 PM
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If someone has, they probably ended up dying in a "mysterious" accident or something.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 12:22 AM
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reply to post by markosity1973
 


These areas are already salt pans, so I would have to imagine that the water would have to be desalinated before attempting to use it to create a lake rich in biodiversity. Factor the costly desalination process in with costs associated with pumping water back out (even with "free" wind power) and you will most likely wind up with a negative quotient of power generated, completely invalidating the entire project in the first place.

I would suggest that the salt pan could be used for its mineral deposits. The vast resources of sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium would be almost enough. But aside from the the obvious resource of salts (a commodity over which, worth mentioning, wars have been fought in the past), you would have smaller deposits of gold, uranium, lithium, silicon, tin, barium, iron, tungsten, titanium, aluminum, niobium, tantalum, etc, etc, etc...

People have already thought of mining the ocean, especially in respect to gold and uranium, but aside from the salts all of these other elements are not feasible at this time due to technological limitations. This method could open up an entirely new avenue for mining. It would spur the need for people to develop the technology to refine and mine these minerals. It could, once developed enough, even satiate our need for conflict minerals, making the tragedies associated with mining them a thing of the past.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by cmdrkeenkid
 


From what I've seen if lake eyre, and the murray river, both if which are very salty the ocean salt water would be more than enough to eventually flush the salt pans away while still being more than capable of supporting life.

Your idea of mining the pans is not without merit and perhaps crystallization areas could be set aside where this is done. I.e. flood an area, let it dry out, mine it then flush it out and start over again.

The argument of net energy is kind of invalid though. Yes it might take a lot if energy to get the water back out again, but as that energy would come from wind, which is freely available not the electricity generated it wouldn't matter anyway.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 12:41 AM
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reply to post by markosity1973
 


Here is a list of minerals in the ocean. Not sure how much this information has changed in nearly fifty years. It was the first hit on my search.




Comes from pages 26-27 of The Mineral Resources of the Sea by John L. Mero. Published by Elsevier in 1965.

As a few key examples there are, per cubic mile of ocean water:

6,400,000 tons of Magnesium
1,900,000 tons of Calcium
132,000 tons of Carbon
14,000 tons of Silicon
2,800 tons of Argon
14 tons of Uranium, Tin, and Copper
5 tons of Titanium
1 ton of Silver
0.02 tons of Gold

I'm sure that there would be several cubic miles of water left to evaporate, which translates to several millions of tons of valuable and needed elements which can be put to good use for furthering humanity.



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 12:50 AM
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reply to post by markosity1973
 


It wouldn't have to be filled, allowed to evaporate, mined, and refilled in an endless cycle. A simple partitioning of the flat with dykes and levees would allow for certain areas to be flooded while other areas are undergoing evaporation or mining. With an area of 7,500 square miles in the Qattara Depression you would never run out of area to be used for one purpose or the other.



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