The idea of going offshore to satisfy our renewable energy needs isn't new, but the grand vision of Japan’s Shimizu Corporation goes way beyond harnessing green energy at sea for use in cities on Terra firma – it takes the whole city along for the ride. The company, along with the Super Collaborative Graduate School and Nomura Securities, is researching the technical issues involved in constructing its Green Float concept – a self-sufficient, carbon-negative floating city that would reside in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The concept would comprise individual floating cells or districts resembling water lilies with a radius of 1km (0.62 miles) that would form a compact village that could house 10,000 to 50,000 people. Joining these districts together would form a city or module that would be home to 100,000 people, while a group of modules would form a country (though we assume there is some red tape involved before you get a seat at the U.N.).
The central tower would be surrounded by grassland and forests, while the outer circumference would adjoin marine forests, lagoons and beach resorts. The cells are designed to be completely self-sufficient in terms of food with the 1 km high towers containing a plant factory, while livestock and other farming would take place in “plains” also surrounding the tower. Seafood lovers would obviously also be well catered for through fishing the surrounding ocean and the marine forests.
The Green Float concept would also produce zero waste by recycling resources and converting waste into energy. It would even help clean up the oceans by collecting any passing “garbage islands” for use as an energy resource.
The Green Float concept was on display at the recent Innovation Japan University Exhibition 2010 where DigInfo TV was told that the Green Float cities wouldn’t be fixed in place but would literally float slowly on the ocean currents. Given much of the technology included in the concept doesn’t exist yet, Shimizu, as part of a three-way agreement with the Super Collaborative Graduate School, and Nomura Securities, will initially concentrate on nurturing R&D projects on the technologies required for such a project. However, the company’s hopes of turning it into a reality by 2025 may be a little ambitious.
But ambition isn’t something that seems to be lacking at Shimizu. The company also proposes encircling the moon in a belt of solar collectors that would collect solar energy and transmit it to Earth using microwave and laser transmission technologies. You definitely couldn't accuse this organization of thinking small.
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