Seawater/Saline Agriculture for Energy,Warming,Water, Rainfall,Land,Food and Minerals

Dennis M. Bushnell Chief Scientist NASA Langley Research Center

We,The crew are: ­ Plundering the ship’s supplies ­ Tinkering with the temperature and life­support controls ­ Still looking for the instruction manual ­ Engaging in bloody skirmishes in every corner of the vessel ­ Increasing the size of the crew by 2 million PER WEEK P. Creola

The (Economic) Ages of  Humankind
•Hunter/Killer groups (~1 Million ­ ~5K  BC) •Agriculture (~5K BC ­ ~1850 AD) •Industrial (~1850 AD ­ ~1950 AD) •Information (~1950 AD ­ ~2040 AD) •BIO/NANO (~1995 ­ ~2040) •Virtual (~2015 ­ ?)

•Hunter­Gatherer ­ “Nature Provided” •Agriculture ­ Controlled Nature  (Plants/Animals) •Industrial ­ Mechanized Agriculture       [1800­97% Farmers,Now­2%]  •IT/BIO/Nano ­ Automating  Industry/Agriculture •Virtual ­ Robotization of  IT/Bio/Nano/Industry/Agriculture

Humans Have “Taken Over” and Vastly Shortened “Evolution” [Human Engendered~E7 times “Natural”]
Of the Planet Global Warming/Pollution/Deforestation Huge “Public Works” (e.g. 3 Gorges  Dam) Of the Human Species Genomic Design and Repair “Mind Children” (Moravec) Products/Life Forms Cross Species Molecular Breeding “Directed Evolution” (Maxygen etc.)

- CO2 levels are NOW greater than at any time in the last 650,000 Years……… - Tundra Melting,Releasing huge amounts of Methane… …. - European Gulf Stream Heating reduced by 30% [overlying fresh water from melting glaciers]…….

             THE KEY TECHNOLOGIES (highly synergistic / at the frontiers of the small / in  a “feeding frenzy” off each other) • IT (comms/computing/sensors/electronics/machine  intelligence) • Bio (genomics/molecular biology/designer life forms) • Nano (coatings/barriers/computers/sensors/materials/ “assemblers”) • Energetics (HEDM (various)/revol.  solar/biomass/explosives/propellants/storage) • Quantum  [crypto/computing/sensors/optics/Electronics] • Societal Technological Systems (motivational 

The [Major] Societal Problems
• Warming [Anthropogenic CO2Induced,Attendant Arctic Methane Release] • Consequent “Green Energy” Requirement,Simultaneous Demise of “Cheap Oil” • Shortages of Water & Arable Land • An Increasing Food Shortage

Current Worldwide Energy Usage
• • • • • • • Petroleum - 140 Exojoules Natural Gas - 85 Coal - 90 Biomass - 55 [Potential to 4,000+] Nuclear Fission - 28 Hydroelectric - 9 Others [Wind etc.] - ~ 10

Petroleum [Transportation Fuel] Outlook
• In General,”Cheap Oil” Production is peaking or has peaked.Residual supplies will have greater production costs.Increasing Petroleum demand,particularly from the developing world ,will ensure ever increasing oil prices and shifts,from purely economic drivers, to “Alternatives” [H2,Biomass] • Demand Example - U.S. has 745 vehicles per 1,000 population.China,the second largest oil importer, has 3 vehicles per 1,000 population.If China goes to 5 Vehicles per 1,000 Population they will have to DOUBLE their Oil Imports to 10 Million Barrels/Day

Energy and Warming
• 75% of Energy Usage is releasing climatechanging amounts of Fossil Carbon as CO2 • This Fossil CO2 warming is releasing Fossil Methane from the Tundra,Methane some 22X more of a warming gas than CO2,A Warming “Accelerant” • Of the “Renewables”,only Solar [via Biomass and “Other Approaches] has the potential to provide the requisite “Capacity” [Wind,Hydro,Nuc cannot….] • Biomass Produces Liquid Fuels and is less expensive currently than “other Solar”

[Direct] Solar Energy Utilization Spectrum
• Biomass • PV [emerging Plastic/Nano PV,1/10th the cost….] • H2 from Photosynthesis [Genomic Biologics and artificial Photosynthesis] • Photo-Catalytic Disassociation of Water • Solar Furnaces/Concentrators/Direct Heating [including Zn production for H2 Generation..]

Biomass Benefits
• • • • • • Renewable Nearly “CO2-Neutral” No New H2 infrastructure Required Minimal Sulfur Relatively Inexpensive Energy costs of biomass production/Processing up to an order of magnitude less than Energy “Yields” - Capacity/Tonnage Currently limited by available water and suitable land

• Bio-Chemical,Enzymatic Hydrolysis/Fermentation of Biomass into Sugars,Lignin,alcohol and Methane • Thermochemical,Pyrolysis/gasification,Co nversion to gas/liquid/solid mix,catalysis producing Biopolymers and Liquid or Gaseous Fuels • Chemical,Biomass Oil conversion to “BioDiesel” etc. fuels - Due to costs of Biomass transportation,Bio-refineries should be “Distributed”,Products largely delivered/deliverable via Pipelines

Sampling - Biomass Utilization Archipelago
• Transportation/Liquid Fuels [Distill/Refine it] • Direct Heat Generation [Burn it] • Direct Electricity Generation [Bio Fuel Cells] • Food [via Genomics] • “Petro-Chemical Feed-Stock [Plastics etc.] • Direct H2 Production [e.g. Fermentation/Algae feeding] • On Site Micro-Power/Co-[electricity] Generation

Biomass Energy Potential[s]
• 6% of U.S. land mass producing Biomass could supply the U.S. with current Oil AND Natural Gas Usage • Estimates indicate that Biomass grown on the Sahara [only] could supply the World’s Energy Requirement[s]…

“Water Scarcity is now the single greatest threat to Human Health,The Environment and the Global Food Supply”

Per Capita Water Availability in North Africa
• 1955 - 2285 M3 • 1990 - 958 M3 • 2025 ~ 600 M3 - Long Distance Water Transfer Costs [600 Km Plus] for 1.2 Acre Meter of water [1.2 meters of water covering an acre of land over a years time - required for Agriculture] is ~ $1200 - Desalinization Costs for 1.2 Acre Meter of Water by Reverse Osmosis is ~ $2,400

Sahara Groundwater Resources
• Vast Distributed underground Aquifers,largely trans-national and underutilized. • Often Saline and becoming more so • Utilization causing land Salinization • A “Sufficiency” example - For the Nubian sandstone Aquifer the total water available is ~75 Acre Meters,would suffice for some 60 years [only] of Intensive Agriculture.Water age some 20,000 years.Compared to agricultural use rates the fill rates are negligible.

North African Irrigation Growth
• 65% to 90% of Fresh water utilized for Agriculture • 1800 - 8Mha Irrigated • 1900 - 40Mha • 2000 - ~ 240Mha • 20% of Irrigated land affected by Salinity,Growing at 3Ha PER MINUTE • By 2025,80% of Food Production from Irrigated Land

The Emerging Desert Mantra
• Desert Area Characteristics - Sunlight - Brackish/Saline Ground Water - Many near/on seacoasts • Utilize these “Resources” For: - Nano-Plastic PV - Saline-Seawater Agriculture for Biomass/Energy and Food

Conventional/Historical “Wisdom” Seawater/Saline incursions/occurance Detrimental-toDisasterous for Agriculture

Unconventional Saline/Salt water Agriculture a Viable-toDesirable Alternative to Conventional Agriculture

Saline/Seawater Agriculture
• Quasi-Conventional: - For Food & Fodder - “Reclaim”/Desalinate land via Biologics • Unconventional - For

Land,Water,Energy,Warming,Mineral s,Food and Terra-Forming/enhanced Rainfall i.e. STRATEGIC Not Tactical, to Contribute to ALL the Major Problems,not just food

Advantages of Seawater AG
• 97% of all water is seawater,will not “Run Out” • Seawater Contains: - wide variety of important minerals - ~ 80% of Nutrients required for Agriculture [need to add Nitrogen,Phosphorus and Iron] • In proximity to a number of Dry/Desert Areas

Mineral Extraction from Seawater
- “[Conventional] mining is one of the most environmentally damaging activities carried out by Humans” • Seawater AG puts “missing/trace Minerals” back into Food Supply • Current Seawater Mineral Extraction Magnesium,Bromide,Salts,Phosphorites,Meta llic Sulfides, • “Seawater and Brines appear destined to replace Mineral Ores as the main source of Light Metals” • Nascent [low cost/energy] Bio/Algae Extraction Approaches….

Alternative Seawater AG Employment Approaches
• Desalinization [in General,too expensive for Agriculture] • Cold/deeper Ocean water to [via heat exchangers] precipitate moisture from the atmosphere • Seawater Greenhouses [involve vaporization/re-precipitation] • Direct Plant Seawater Irrigation

Some Numbers
• Sahara some 2E9 Acres • 1.2 Acre Meters Required for Agriculture/Irrigation [per year] • Average Sahara Elevation some 450 Meters • ~ cost to pump 1.2 acre meters of Seawater to 450 Meters altitude [vertical lift only] some $1200/Acre • 1 Acre produces 10-to-40 tons of dry Biomass per year • I Ton of dry Biomass provides 16E6 BTU’s = 2.75 Barrels of Oil • @ $60/Barrel of oil,1 ton of Biomass worth [after “refining”] ~ $165 [other estimates,which include Addit. Goodness factors [e.g. countering warming] are as high as $300-$700/ton] • @ 20 Tons/Acre and $165/ton Value of an Acre of Biomass = $~3300

Irrigation Influences Upon Rainfall
• “Irrigation can Represent an Enormous Perturbation of the Regional Atmospheric Water and Heat Balance” • Cool,Wet Surface increases low level Atmospheric Instabilities,incites “Storms” • Various Studies Indicate - 18%-25% precipitation Increase [from only .4 acre meter Irrigation] - Irrigation increased Rainfall by 91% - Irrigation and Vegetation changes are clear dominating factors with direct influence upon atmospheric water content

Halophyte [Salt-Plant] Utilization [Per Yensen]
• Patents issued for Halophyte Crop[s] [Genetics,Genomics] • 10,000+ “Natural” Halophyte Plants,250 of these are potential “Staple” crops • Research ongoing on/for Halophilic [SaltLOVING] Halophytes,The more salt the faster the growth… • Huge areas worldwide are already saltaffected [1 B Hectares] and another Billion Hectares overlie Saline Aquifers. • Over 100 halophyte plants now in “trials” for “Commercial” applications

[Sample] Countries with Saline AG projects
• China • Mexico • Eritria • India • Pakistan • Israel • Libya • Jordan • Tunisia - Current Status,Prototype Farms/Experiments for FOOD • • • • • • • • • • Egypt Iran Morocco U.S. Saudi Arabia Syria UAE Kuwait Australia Sudan

Chinese Seawater AG Reporting
• Genetically Modified [grown on “Beaches” using Seawater]: - Tomato - Eggplant - Pepper - Wheat - Rice - Rapeseed

The Potential[s] for enhanced [Halophyte] Plant Growth via Nano/Bio Technology thought to be Large,60% improvements thus far,”Only Beginning” - An Example Requisite Capability Nitrogen Fixation [utilization/extraction from the air]

On-going Research Areas
• Enhanced Plant growth rates and enhanced “Salt-Loving” • Reduced water/nutrient Requirements • Irrigation Efficiency Improvements • Plant /Lifeform tailoring for specific BioConversion/Refining Processes • ‘Safe”/’Contained” Saline/Seawater Irrigation Practices,Avoid-to-Obviate Fresh Aquifer Contamination

Suggested North African/Sahara Biomass “Solution” Mix
• Seawater Irrigation near “dry” and flattish Coastal areas • Saline irrigation where Saline Aquifers are available at Reasonable Pumping Depths • Seawater Irrigation inland where Economics appear feasible • Enhanced rainfall induced by Irrigation [the “Terraforming” aspect[s]]

TerraForming -1
• Altering a Planetary Surface to make it suitable for Terrestrial life • Seawater AG for Biomass Energy can be of sufficient magnitude to qualify as TerraForming • Humans have long practiced “AntiTerraforming” with neither plan nor prediction • It appears timely/necessary to attempt terraforming of North Africa but with both Plan and Prediction…

TerraForming -2 [Raddatz and Knom]
• The Biosphere/Surface vegetation plays a dominant role on climate • Vegetation can affect continent-scale atmospheric motion[s],e.g. in North Africa • The interaction between Atmosphere and land cover in North Africa is HIGHLY NON-LINEAR…..

[Obvious] Terraforming Modeling/Computation Requirements/Inputs
• • • • Irrigated Land Area Type of Vegetation/Evaporation Rate Vegetation Coverage Atmospheric Particulate details [allow cloud formation at .1% super-saturation] • Utilization of both “Boundary Layer Meteorology and Global Circulation/Earth System Models • ETC……

Bottom Line Enablers/”Pull” Saline/Seawater Biomass Irrigation
• Oil Prices now high enough [and going higher] to make the economics worth looking into [again] • H2 Infrastructure Costs & Storage issues • Potential Halophyte Genomic improvements • Global Warming,Green Energy Requirements • Increasing shortages of Sweet water/”Arable Land” - Requires SERIOUS Forecasting……

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