Could giant fans make deserts green?
LONDON (Reuters) — Coastal deserts could turn green thanks to a new project that combines wind power and sea water to make rain. A research team led by Stephen Salter of the University of Edinburgh is developing mobile wind-driven turbines, 40 meters (131 ft) in diameter, that spray vaporized sea water into the air, increasing humidity and, in turn, the likelihood of rain. “If it works the pay-off could be enormous, right from putting out bush fires to pushing back the desert,” Salter said on Wednesday. The turbines, which would be mounted on hundreds of catamaran-like barges, could be used to boost rainfall in some of the world’s driest areas. The engineering professor said he had found no major flaws in the idea. “I’m putting a big part of my research into this and so far I haven’t come across any impossible show-stoppers.” In theory water vapor sprayed from slits in the turbine rotors will partially evaporate in the air from the turbine wake. Residual salt will fall back into the s